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Democrats put reconciliation on election agenda.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja Leader of the Australian Democrats

Senator Aden Ridgeway Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats Reconciliation Spokesperson 7th November 2001 MEDIA RELEASE 01/705

Democrats put Reconciliation on election agenda The Australian Democrats have urged all governments to commit to both symbolic and practical action to achieve Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Leader of the Australian Democrats, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja, and Deputy Leader and spokesperson on Reconciliation, Senator Aden Ridgeway, launched the Democrats’ Reconciliation Policy today in Sydney.

“A national Reconciliation process is about overcoming social disadvantage but also about recognition of cultural and political rights,” said Senator Stott Despoja.

The Australian Democrats believe the national Reconciliation process needs to include the following:

• Performance benchmarks (including timelines) for governments in regard to indigenous

service delivery

• Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians

• A negotiated treaty or agreement

• Reparations for the Stolen Generations

• Support for the ongoing work of Reconciliation Australia.

“The Democrats’ Reconciliation Policy is part of a broader Indigenous Affairs policy platform which covers health, education, deaths in custody, economic development and employment, support for recognition of cultural rights, native title and land rights,” said Senator Ridgeway.

“The Policy is guided by the decade of work done by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.

“It is important to talk treaty, it is important to talk constitutional recognition, it is important to talk reparations for the Stolen Generations.

“None of this, in any way, cancels out governments’ responsibilities on practical areas such as health, housing and education. These are their obligations towards all Australians,” concluded Senator Ridgeway.

For further information contact Alison Rogers on 0419 867 649 or Liz Willis on 0414 876 152