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Commission urges Rudd to forge new indigenous partnerships


Brisbane's Catholic Justice and Peace Commission has urged the new Prime Minister to commit to fresh partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, to end "gross Indigenous disadvantage".

The Commission's Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said he welcoms elected Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's commitment to be a "Prime Minister for Indigenous Australians".

"This country can no longer tolerate a situation in which many are enjoying the benefits of unprecedented economic prosperity while most of our country's Indigenous people languish in poverty and disadvantage," Mr Arndt said.

"We cannot challenge the human rights records of other countries with any credibility until we ensure that the basic human rights of Indigenous Australians are upheld," he said.

However, Mr Arndt urged Mr Rudd to ensure that his commitment also protects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' cultural identity.

"We welcome a commitment to close the gap in health standards between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians as quickly as possible," he said.

"Any attempt to assimilate Indigenous people and to effectively eliminate their cultural heritage should be strongly resisted."

Mr Arndt added new partnerships need to be forged if Mr Rudd is to achieve his desired outcomes.

"Mr Rudd needs to develop relationships with the broadest range of Indigenous leaders around the country if we are to see an end to Indigenous disadvantage," Mr Arndt said.

"If he works with Aboriginal people and commits adequate resources, I believe he will have bi-partisan political support and the goodwill of the Australian people."

SOURCE
Commission Urges Rudd to Commit to New Indigenous Partnerships (Catholic Justice and Peace Commission 26/11/07)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Justice and Peace Commission, Archdiocese of Brisbane
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27 Nov 2007