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Senior Qld indigenous leader 'winces' over Herron's latest gaffe.

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Media Release


20 Octobcr 1998


Senior Qld Indigenous Leader 'Winces' over Herron's Latest Gaffe.


Senior Queensland Indigenous leader and ATSIC Commissioner Terry 0'Shane said today that Australians were now "wincing" at almost every statement Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Minister John Herron makes.


Commenting on the Minister's latest attack on 'veteran' indigenous leaders, Commissioner O'Shane said Senator Herron, who is 66, "looks a bit silly slinging off at the 'longevity' of senior Aboriginal leaders."


"This is a case of the 'pot calling the kettle black'," he said.


"Senator Herron continues to leave himself 'wide open' to ridicule.


"So much so, that many people now 'wince' when they hear John Herron make statements like this on indigenous affairs.


"He looks even more foolish when you note that leaders such as Peter of Yu, is one of the 'new generation' of Aboriginal leaders. While the Dodson brothers, Mick and Patrick, would be considered "young blood" if they were elected to parliament.


"And as anyone who knows anything about indigenous culture, age and experience are highly valued.


"Given the entrenched problems our people in this country face, there is room and need for a leadership that includes the experience of our senior leaders and the new, highly educated leaders emerging.


"It's really case of all hands on deck for us."


Commissioner O'Shane said indigenous people, not just their leaders, were looking for a constructive contribution from the federal government on indigenous affairs.


"Sadly were not getting this from the Minister, and we have not got this from him for nearly two and a half years."


He said even though the Prime Minister's new ministry was barely into its first week it was clear that government and indigenous leaders' hopes for progress on reconciliation were being "held back" by John Herron's continued lack of performance.


"What we now have with this new ministry, is a 'minister for provocation and recrimination' against indigenous people who is effectively working against the new Minister for Reconciliation.


"Reconciliation is looking hard enough at the moment, without this new minister having to put out fires started by his own ministerial counterpart.


"Philip Ruddock must also be wincing at John Herron's latest contribution," Commissioner O'Shane said.


Media contact: Terry O'Shane: mob 0417 764 992



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission

MLC Tower Building, Phillip, ACT 2606. PO Box 17 WODEN, ACT 2606

Tel: (06) 289 1222 Fax: (06) 281 0772