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Friday, 28 May 2004

Uniting Church condemns insult to Reconciliation Week

“The Uniting Church condemns the Federal Government’s insult to Reconciliation Week by choosing yesterday to introduce the bill to abolish ATSIC without replacement,” Shayne Blackman, National Administrator of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, the Indigenous body of the Uniting Church said today.

“May 27 is the first day of Reconciliation Week and celebrates the successful 1967 referendum granting citizenship rights to Indigenous peoples,” he said.

“For the Howard Government to put before the House of Representatives a bill which denies Indigenous people a voice and a say in our own affairs is a sign that this Government has total disregard of the reconciliation process in this nation.”

“We call on the Labor Party, the Greens, the Democrats and the Independent to block this bill in the Senate and demonstrate their commitment to reconciliation and the Indigenous peoples of Australia.

“While we have concerns with the current ATSIC structure, ATSIC must remain until an appropriate and Indigenous approved representative structure at national and regional levels as been put in place. They must not let this bill pass,” Mr Blackman said.

Media contacts: Rev Shayne Blackman on 0418 784 463 or (07) 4773 5077
Gavin Melvin, Senior Communications Officer, National Assembly on 0417 416 674