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Racism rests with those blocking full Aboriginal affairs inquiry



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• Putty

" '[•‘Richmond • Windsor

RACISM RESTS WITH

THOSE BLOCKING FULL ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS INQUIRY

Those suggesting that the Opposition should not bring Aboriginal public servants to public account for maladministration were the real racists in the current debate, the Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Alasdair Webster, claimed in Canberra today.

"The Opposition is being told that it should not pursue allegations of maladministration in the Department of Aboriginal Affairs because the public servants involved are Aboriginals", Mr Webster said.

"The Government is hoping to block examination of its administration of this portfolio by having the community and media believe this is a racist witch-hunt.

"Unfortunately, respected individuals like Neville Bonner have come to the assistance of people they respect in the Department and have resorted to the same objection to an inquiry - that is that because it will deal with Aboriginal public servants it should not proceed.

"I would have thought that Pat O'Shane's confirmation yesterday of the Coalition concern about the administration of aboriginal affairs had put that objection to rest.

"Likewise the decision of Aboriginals from the Namoi reserve to highlight today that what was involved in the debate was wastage of resources which could be used for basic life opportunity projects vindicates Coalition action in the

Parliament. .

"It is simply unsupportable to take the position that there should be different standards of public accountability in cases involving Aboriginal public servants.

"And frankly I resent the suggestion that I and other Coalition colleagues are pursuing this matter in order to score easy points or exploit white opinion concerning aboriginal affairs."

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: CHRIS GARDINER 062 774 748

2 November 1988