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Indigenous Affairs policy is central to Australia's future.

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DEMOCRATS MEDIA 04/860 MONDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2004 SENATOR ANDREW BARTLETT LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS SENATOR ADEN RIDGEWAY AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRATS INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS SPOKESPERSON INDIGENOUS AFFAIRS POLICY IS CENTRAL TO AUSTRALIA'S FUTURE The Australian Democrats have called for Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation to be put back on the Federal policy agenda at the Democrat's policy and candidate launch at the Old Telegraph Station in Alice Springs today. Democrats Leader, Senator Andrew Bartlett, said the Democrats were the first political party to formally apologise to the stolen generations and will continue to push whoever forms Government after October 9 to issue a formal apology. "The Democrats don't just talk about commitment to Indigenous people, we act on it," said Senator Bartlett. "We are the only Federal party with an Indigenous representative in the parliament and today we introduce Janeen Bulsey, an Indigenous woman who lives in Tennant Creek and who is our lead Senate candidate for the NT." Democrats Indigenous Affairs spokesperson, Senator Aden Ridgeway, said the Party chose Central Australia to launch the party's Indigenous Affairs policy because Indigenous affairs and reconciliation must be a central concern for any Australian Government. "We've had 8 years of the Howard Government’s lies on Indigenous Affairs," said Senator Ridgeway. "One of their most insidious lies was that there never was "a stolen generation". This old Telegraph Station was where hundreds of children grew up deprived of their families and culture and it tells a story the Howard Government doesn't want to hear. "This history lives on in the present and must be acknowledged as a part of healing and moving on." News releases can also be sent by email. Please advise us if you want to join the email distribution list.

DEMOCRATS MEDIA News releases can also be sent by email. Please advise us if you want to join the email distribution list.

The key points of the Democrats Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation policy include:

• creating stronger communities though support for families and dealing with substance abuse and inter-generational trauma;

• co-ordinated and more efficient Government service delivery;

• retaining elected national Indigenous representation;

• protecting heritage and culture;

• promoting education and economic development; and,

• dealing with "unfinished business" such as an apology; including Indigenous people in the constitution and creating a workable native title regime.

NT Senate candidate Janeen Bulsey said, "While John Howard has tried to push Indigenous affairs off the political agenda, the Democrats have consistently advocated for fairer Indigenous policies.

"At present, our NT Senate vote can be cancelled out when our two NT Senators vote on opposite sides. A Democrat Voice representing the Northern Territory could change that."

Democrat House of Representatives Indigenous candidates standing in the Federal election include:

Scott Kneebone - Batman (Vic) - 0425 714 082

Tony Bennell - Canning (WA) - 0418 941 735 or (08) 9399 9299

Richard Hoolihan - Herbert (QLD) - 0427 034 813

Lester Pearce - Macarthur (NSW) - 0405 682 058

Democrats Indigenous Affairs and Reconciliation policy

Media Contact for Senator Bartlett - Rowena Bew 0400 729 555

Media Contact for Senator Ridgeway - Liz Willis 0417 410 506

Media Contact for Janeen Bulsey - 0417 868 451