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Anglican Synod critical of NT intervention -

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Reporter: Lindy Kerin

TONY EASTLEY: Members attending the Sydney Anglican Synod have weighed into the political debate
over climate change and the Federal Government's intervention in Northern Territory Aboriginal
communities.

The church members described the emergency response in Indigenous communities as heavy handed and
paternalistic and also raised concerns about the level of consultation with Aboriginal people.

As Lindy Kerin reports, the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen is making no apologies
for taking such a strong stand.

LINDY KERIN: The Sydney Anglican diocese is one of the largest in the country, representing almost
270 parishes. Every year members meet for the annual synod and this time the agenda is highly
political.

The Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen last night chaired discussion about the Federal
Government's intervention in Northern Territory Aboriginal communities.

PETER JENSEN: This is an obligation almost without parallel in our society, that we as particularly
white people have an obligation to the good welfare of Indigenous people which is virtually our
number one responsibility. That does not mean paternalism. It may mean all sorts of different
things in a policy level, but we cannot remain content in the way we live our lives while our
Indigenous brothers and sisters are suffering in the way that they are.

LINDY KERIN: Archdeacon Deryck Howell told the forum the intervention will only be effective if
there's adequate consultation.

DERYCK HOWELL: We've received a very helpful list of consultations that have taken place but they
are not enough and there are many people on the ground, many of our Indigenous friends who feel
that there has been no consultation, they have not been listened to and we still continue down the
same old path.

LINDY KERIN: Another big ticket item on the agenda was climate change, described as the most
pressing issue on the global political agenda.

There was unanimous support for all parishes in the Sydney diocese to implement an environmental
policy to reduce the carbon footprint and a call on governments at all levels to take the issue of
climate change seriously.

Darren Mitchell says it's important the church contributes to the debate.

DARREN MITCHELL: The Government's got a big job ahead of it as our representative, both State and
Federal. Internationally we can see that there's a lot of shift going on this year even in their
own thinking with here and America and other places. Given all of that, I think we need to be able
to support governments to be bold.

I guess there are some big challenges, the policy questions are actually complex, the policy tools
and choices that need to be made by government are also complex. Given all of that I hope that we
can contribute sensibly and I guess with integrity because we've looked at our own patch.

LINDY KERIN: The Sydney Anglican diocese is arguably the most influential diocese in the country.
Dr Peter Jensen had no doubt the synod will continue playing a role in important political debates.

PETER JENSEN: It's a political debate in the sense that this is a matter for the whole community
which is going to involve us all in action of a political nature. Now that being so, Christians of
all persuasions will want to be involved, both in making their views known and also taking the
necessary actions.

TONY EASTLEY: The Anglican Archbishop of Sydney Dr Peter Jensen ending Lindy Kerin's report.