Kevin Rudd's election provides an opportunity for Australia and Aboriginal people to repair the damage caused by the Howard years. Rudd's intention to apologise to the Stolen Generations already indicates a positive change of national policy towards Aboriginal people and should he remove the NT emergency laws, Aboriginal reconciliation will be further enhanced.
The funding levels and conditions under Howard government meant infrastructure and service delivery standards for Aboriginal people fell into decline, and Rudd will need to increase health, housing and infrastructure funding to close the gap. While not dictating to Rudd, we would like to see the crown lands returned in ownership to Aboriginal people, subject to existing interests. We need an independent black political voice to replace hand-picked advisers. We feel we are past symbolism for the sake of it and ask that better protection against discriminatory laws be placed in the body of the constitution. We look forward to Rudd compensating the children taken from the 1940s onwards to give substance to the apology.
We are genuinely relieved that John Howard and Mal Brough are gone. We offer our congratulations to the Rudd team and look forward to positive dialogue.
Roy Ah-See (NSW), Larissa Behrendt (ACT), Sol Bellear (NSW), Dennis Eggington (WA), Gary Foley (Vic.), Olga Havnen (NT), Les Malezer (Qld), Michael Mansell (Tas.), Bev Manton (NSW), Naomi Mayers (NSW), Pat Turner (NT), Alma Thorpe (Vic.), Nicole Watson (ACT), Sam Watson (Qld), & Bob Weatherall (Qld)