Calls for Indigenous seats put to Parliament


The Torres Shire Council says two seats in Queensland Parliament should be designated for Indigenous MPs.


The Council made the suggestion in its submission to the State Government's integrity and accountability Green Paper.


Its mayor and councillors say creating two Indigenous seats in Parliament would empower and recognise the first inhabitants of the state.


The Council also wants an Indigenous ombudsman to be appointed in Queensland.


It says in the submission that an ombudsman could have a monitoring role as many Indigenous people fall through the gaps of government programs.


The Government's response to the Green Paper submissions is due by the end of the year.


A spokeswoman for Premier Anna Bligh says all suggestions will be considered.


Some State Government ministers say they are open to the idea of dedicating seats in Parliament for Indigenous people.


Community Services Minister Karen Struthers is sympathetic to the submission.


"I've certainly supported greater representation of Indigenous people and will continue to do so," she said.


Natural Resources Minister Stephen Robertson agrees.


"Speaking personally I find that an interesting proposition," he said.


But Opposition spokesman Howard Hobbs says there could be more Indigenous people in Parliament if the State Government changed the rules for local councillors.


He says councillors should not have to quit to run for a state seat.


"There are a lot of young Indigenous leaders now in the shire councils," he said.


"The Government has prohibited them from standing for state Parliament without resigning first.


"So if they wanted to really give them a chance to have a go at state Parliament they should revoke that legislation - that would be a very good step."


Mr Hobbs says there should also be better representation by existing MPs.


"This has all come from the region expressing frustration at the lack of support," he said.

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