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ATSIC Chairman congratulates PM.

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Media Release


9 October 1998




ATSIC Chairman Gatjil Djerrkura has written to Prime Minister John Howard to congratulate him on the return of his Government.


Mr Djerrkura says he has also sought a much closer working relationship with the Government in its second term of office.


The ATSIC Chairman says he has used the opportunity to endorse Mr Howard's commitment to work towards reconciliation in his second term.


"I share the Prime Minister's view that this goal is achievable but we need a new bipartisan approach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs.


"I have sought a meeting with the Prime Minister, at his earliest convenience, in order to discuss this and a range of important issues.


"Chief among these is the need to establish a better basis for dialogue and partnership between the incoming Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and the Board of Commissioners.


"I welcome public statements during the recent campaign that ATSIC will remain the principal source of policy advice to the Government on Indigenous Affairs but this has not been the practice to date.


"The Board of Commissioners clearly acknowledge that the Government may take decisions which are contrary to our advice but there has been a failure in the recent past to seek advice or consultation with ATSIC before decisions have been made."


Mr Djerrkura said he was aware of press speculation about possible changes to the new Howard ministry.


"I do not intend to speculate on this speculation," he added.


"It is a matter for the Prime Minister."


Issued through the Office of Public Affairs.


Brian Johnstone 02 62893307 0419 010687

Mastin Freckmann 02 62893399 018 631045


NB: Mr Djerrkura is not available for interview. He is involved in a traditional ceremony in Arnhem Land.



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