Kimberley Catholic challenge to PM's Reconciliation credentials

The Broome Diocese has hit out at the Prime Minister over the "posturing" that is intended to have Australians "believe that he is now on the same road to Reconciliation as people like Pat Dodson".

Br Shane Wood of the Diocesan Office of Justice, Ecology and Peace said "things that are said and promised in the heat of an election campaign can be taken with a grain of salt."

He said Mr Howard wants to place on record his failures in Reconciliation which were brought about as a result of his past.

"We are all products of our past, but some of us refuse to be prisoners to it," he said. "That is a lame excuse."

"In his speech, the Prime Minister evidenced no change of heart in his attitude to an apology, recognition of prior ownership of land, customary law or the right to be consulted on significant issues that affect the lives of Indigenous peoples."

Br Wood said it was difficult to take the PM seriously when he "offers a toothless symbolic gesture on the one hand while sending in the troops on the other."

Br Wood also said the community have endured attacks from politicians such as Tony Abbott who want the churches and others interested in social justice to keep silent.

"He would want us to ignore the plight of low-paid workers, refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, Aboriginal people and others on the margins of our society while government continues to boast of record economic growth and overflowing treasury coffers."

"There is a long tradition of advocacy and welfare work in our churches and we are not going to be intimidated into silence by politicians of any persuasion."

John Howard's about face welcomed…with reservations(Broome Diocesan Office of Justice, Ecology and Peace 15/10/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Diocese of Broome
John Howard PM
Reconciliation in Australia

Broome Diocese welcomes prison investigation (CathNews, 30/011/024)
Ratzinger Broome Diocese speaks out against ATSIC abolition (CathNews, 20/04/04)
Bishop Grech welcomes defeat of asylum amendment plans (CathNews, 15/08/06)

16 Oct 2007