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Tuesday, 01 June 2004

Church welcomes opportunity for Indigenous voice

The Uniting Church today welcomed the decision by Senator Kerry O’Brien that the Labor Party will refer the ATSIC Bill to a Senate Inquiry.

Uniting Church General Secretary, Reverend Terence Corkin said the decision would allow the indigenous community and Australian citizens to have a voice on the future of ATSIC.

“This decision ensures all Australians will have a say on the future of ATSIC and most importantly, the principles of indigenous self determination are adhered to before any decision is made.

“Most Australians think it’s fair for people to have a say in the decisions that affect their life. The Church believes Indigenous Australians should have a voice in their future – the legislation to abolish ATSIC without a replacement body would have silenced this voice.

“We should not remove the indigenous voice from political affairs and the Church hopes this inquiry will find a way to ensure that voice is heard through a National Indigenous body.

“It is now up to the Greens, Democrats and Independents to support this step and ensure the inquiry commences. The Church calls on them to support this measure and ensure a just future for Indigenous Australians,” Rev Corkin said.

Media contacts:
Reverend Terence Corkin, 0407 220 677
Gavin Melvin, Senior Communications Officer, National Assembly, 0417 416 674