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Hayden outburst bewildering.

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Media Release

Hayden Outburst Bewildering


12 October 2000


Former Governor-General Bill Hayden’s attack on Aboriginal people and the Reconciliation process is a sad reflection on the man who once aspired to be our Prime Minister.

Mr Hayden’s speech at the University of Tasmania last night did nothing to enhance his reputation as one of this country’s elder statesmen and more importantly the progress of Reconciliation.

I am bewildered by his comments.

I am also saddened at the outburst by the man who, as Federal Opposition leader in 1983, openly declared wholesale support for Tasmanian Aborigines when the Franklin Dam protests were at their height.

His criticism of Sir Ronald Wilson’s “Bringing Them Home Report in to the Stolen Generation” appears to be a personal attack on Aboriginal people and the report’s author.

I feel Mr Hayden has seriously under-estimated the general feelings of the vast majority of all Australians who are openly supportive of Reconciliation.

This support was proved earlier this year with record numbers of people from all walks of life and from all nationalities taking part in the dozens of Reconciliation Walks around our country.

The united cheers for Cathy Freeman when she lit the Olympic Torch and later when she carried both the Aboriginal and Australian flags after her gold-medal winning run was more evidence Australians favour Reconciliation.

Mr Hayden is to be pitied more than scorned for his outburst.

And it is sad someone who has held senior positions in public life taking such an embittered public view in the twilight of his life.

Contact: Rodney Dillon ATSIC Commissioner for Tasmania

(03) 6224 4933 0419 575 820

Mick Hedger Public Affairs Officer (03) 6224 4933 0418 386 803


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