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Rudd's indigenous Australia commitment commendable

Rudd’s commitment to indigenous Australia commendable says Maori Party

Tariana Turia, Co-leader, Maori Party
Monday 28 January 2008

Maori Party Co-leader, Tariana Turia, has today recognised Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s promise to ‘build a bridge …to restore respect with indigenous Australia’ as demonstrating the political leadership that tangata whenua will admire.

“Mr Rudd has both recognised the need to give priority to indigenous health and education as well as fronting up with an apology for the injustice of past administrations” said Mrs Turia.

“That he did this on the occasion of what many Aboriginal people call ‘Invasion Day’ (Australia Day), recognises that no nation can go forward without being prepared to address the actions of the past” said Mrs Turia.

“We are aware, however, that there is strong support from the indigenous peoples of Australia, for such an apology to be accompanied with appropriate reparation for the damage wreaked on Aboriginal cultures, languages, heritages, lands and social and economic advancement” said Mrs Turia.

“Saying sorry is a good starting point, but it remains to be seen, what detailed planning is underway to achieve meaningful and effective reconciliation” said Mrs Turia.

“Of course the key issue in all of this, is exactly what will be the effect of the apology for Aboriginal communities?” said Mrs Turia.

“It is a question that we in Maoridom are also always considering – what has saying sorry done to change the lives of those people for whom treaty settlements have been made?”.

"Saying sorry is a great gesture, but it can be a pretty empty gesture when we have been unable to raise the bar on treaty settlements".

"As with any pledge made, the real test will be in the detail of the investment made in generating hope for a solid future".


ENDS

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