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Full investigation needed into Aboriginal dea -

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PETER CAVE: On the line now I have Boni Robertson from Flinders University- an Aboriginal academic.

Boni, does this sort of a story surprise you?

BONI ROBERTSON: No it doesn't surprise me and as the shadow minister just said, it is very
important that these allegations be investigated to find out whether there is substance to it or
not. And I think it's just (inaudible) that this is a really decent family, a family who tried to
be responsible parents and grandparents, who tried to seek help for this little child.

And I spoke to the family this morning and obviously they are very devastated but they are also
devastated at the fact that the child could have been saved. Their thoughts are that if somebody
had listened to them when they took the child to the hospital in the first instance, their belief
is that she would still be here.

PETER CAVE: Are you aware of institutionalised racism at that hospital?

BONI ROBERTSON: Well according to the family involved the doctor involved was not of an English
speaking background. They found it very hard for him to understand. And it's not uncommon for
visiting doctors or doctors from overseas to be sent to these remote communities and like with any
visiting practitioner there is a cultural barrier in terms of the language.

But if you've got somebody from overseas who perhaps can't speak very clear English and you have
got our people with English being their second or third language, then you have got a very serious
problem and this is not something...

PETER CAVE: So you are prepared to concede that it may have been just a communication problem?

BONI ROBERTSON: Well I mean we would have to look at all the facts involved but the communication
situation with our people on these communities and the visiting practitioners has been an issue
that has been raised for many, many, many, many years and one would have thought by now that that
would have been addressed.

PETER CAVE: Does it surprise you that the Government has remained completely silent on this up to
now?

BONI ROBERTSON: I suspect what they are trying to do is to gather all the information so that they
can be informed. I think it would be a foolish move for anyone to make a suggestion one way or
another as to the background of this other than what the family have indicated.

I think for anyone in that position of authority to make a comment other than, you know giving
sympathy to the family and understanding that there is a family now that is so stressed and bereft
at what has happened to this little child, a beautiful little child, I think it would be prudent
for any person in a position to want to get all the facts first.

But I would also want, if I was the Minister I would also want to at least issue a statement to the
family that you know this is a terrible tragedy and it should never have happened and give the
assurance at the very least that an investigation will take place.

PETER CAVE: Okay well we are still waiting as you are. Boni Robertson from Flinders University. She
is an Aboriginal academic.