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Labor MP Tim Watts touched by family history and remarks to parliament

A Labor politician, descended from early settlers, reveals how his ancestors’ actions against Indigenous Australians inspired him to stand up for his voice.

Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts almost burst into tears when he told ABC’s Q+A program about how his ancestor John Watts allowed the continued killing of Australian Aborigines.

Jon Watts was one of the “first squatters” of Darling Downs, Queensland, and later became the first member of the Queensland Parliament, participating in the parliamentary investigation into the activities of the Queensland Aboriginal Police.

camera iconQ&A Audience member Madeleine Hampson asked Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts about her ancestry during her address to Congress on Boyce. credit: Supplied
Assistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts said in a Q+A on ABC TV on Monday, May 29, 2023.
camera iconAssistant Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Tim Watts spoke about his ancestors who persecuted Aboriginal Australians in Queensland. credit: Supplied

Historians estimate that the militia killed between 10,000 and 60,000 Aboriginal Australians, “well known to the polite society of the time”.

“When any form of attack was made against the settlers, the Aboriginal police responded by tracking the Aboriginal people to the camp. They fired rifles at people,” Watts said in a speech to Congress last week.

According to Watts, Jon Watts decided to allow the Queensland Aboriginal Police to continue operating, arguing that “blacks must be taught white proficiency through the power of the carbine” in a speech to parliament. .

Watts said it was difficult to know what his ancestors were doing and his voice was broken on the show.

“It was really hard just to stand up and say the words out loud, and it was really confronting me as if my emotions were catching up with me,” he said.

After regular host Stan Grant took a break on Monday night, ABC journalist Patricia Calvelas hosted the Q+A.
camera iconAfter regular host Stan Grant took a break on Monday night, ABC journalist Patricia Calvelas hosted the Q+A. credit: Supplied
Monday night's QandA panel moderated by Patricia Calvelas
camera iconA panel from the Monday night Q+A program moderated by Patricia Calvelas. credit: Supplied

“And I wanted other participants in this discussion to think through that lens and think about how to be good ancestors.”

Watts went on to say that Uluru’s heartfelt statement was a “thankful gift” from the Indigenous Australians.

“In the light of this history, what an act of generosity in providing a way forward for the healing and unification of our country,” he said, to applause from the audience.

“Don’t respond with Bush lawyers and internet conspiracy theories and dog whistles.

“This is the moment we can all understand, and the moment we can do something that will impact generations.”

Monday night’s Q+A program aired for the first time since regular host Stan Grant announced he was taking an indefinite hiatus following ongoing racial abuse.

UPSIZED ABC host Stan Grant steps down after backlash over coronation coverage.
camera iconUPSIZED ABC host Stan Grant steps down after backlash over coronation coverage. credit: Supplied

A Wiradjuli journalist said he was hit hard by the criticism directed at him following his involvement in ABC’s coverage of Charles III’s coronation and the lack of support from ABC management. .

“I’m not walking away because of racism. We too often do… I walk away because I need to get away from the media. I’m part of the problem.” I feel,” Grant said at the end of the May 19 program.

ABC chair Ita Boutrose said the state broadcaster was providing support to Mr Grant and hoped he would return “as soon as he is ready to do so”.

https://thewest.com.au/entertainment/labor-mp-tim-watts-overcome-with-emotion-over-family-history-and-voice-to-parliament-c-10809699 Labor MP Tim Watts touched by family history and remarks to parliament

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