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Mandawuy Yunupingu

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John Hewson

Leader of the Opposition MEDIA RELEASE


10/9326 January 1993


I congratulate Mandawuy Yunupingu. He is a deserving Australian of the Year.

in the International Year of Indigenous People, it is a fitting tribute to an Australian who has devoted his life to helping Aboriginal people and to fostering a greater understanding and awareness of Aboriginal issues within the wider community.

He and his band, Yothu Yindi, have been a particular inspiration to young Australians.

Through his music, words and actions, Mandawuy Yunupingu has challenged us all to confront the appalling discrimination and disadvantage faced by Aboriginal Australians and to start doing something about it.

The wider community is now at last facing that challenge.

The ten year process of reconciliation, begun last year through the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, is the vehicle through which Aboriginal disadvantage can begin to be genuinely addressed and through which a greater understanding of Aboriginal issues can be developed.

First and foremost, the process of reconciliation must concentrate on improving the overall well-being of the Aboriginal community, particularly in the areas of health, education, housing and employment opportunities.

it must foster in us all a sense of collective responsibility. Mandaway Yunupingu will be a key player in this process of reconciliation.

It is my sincere hope that all Australians commit themselves to ensuring that the process of reconciliation delivers real and tangible benefits to the Aboriginal and wider Australian community.

It is also my hope that Mandawuy and Yothu Yindi continue to produce outstanding music - music not only of our time but reflecting 50,000 years of Aboriginal culture and history as well.