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ATSIC [Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission] repeats call for no deal on preferences.

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Media Release


ATSIC repeats call for no deal on preferences


In the wake of the Queensland election, the ATSIC Chairman, Gatjil Djerrkura, has renewed his call for the Coalition to place the One Nation party last on ‘how-to-vote’ cards at the forthcomi ng federal election.


Writing today to the Minister for Aboriginal and Tones Strait Islander Affairs, Senator John Herron, Mr Djerrkura said the Prime Minister must use the authority of his office to send a clear message to State divisions of the Liberal Party.


“Given the result in Queensland, I now urge you to impress on the Prime Minister the importance of taking a principled stand in relation to this issue in the forthcoming federal election,” the letter said.


The ATSIC Chairman originally wrote to Senator Herron on 5 June, ahead of the Queensland poll, asking him to use his influence in an approach to the Prime Minister. The Minister has yet to respond.


“As you will recall, I wrote seeking your assistance in what I considered to be a major initiative to advance the process of reconciliation,” Mr Djerrkura said.


“As I pointed out, I believed you may have been able to play a central role in helping rid Australia of one of the most divisive forces Aboriginal and Tones Strait Islander people have had to confront in our long struggle for political, economic and social recognition.


“I was referring, of course, to One Nation.


“As I also pointed out, ATSIC and its constituents, along with many other like-minded Australians, had largely kept their own counsel in the face of a barrage of racist taunts from Pauline Hanson and her supporters over the past two years.


“I commended the Prime Minister, Mr Howard, and all of those Government members who had taken the opportunity to publicly denounce her extremist views.


“However, I told you I believed the Prime Minister should take the next step and urge your party to place One Nation last on the Liberal Party of Australia’s how to vote cards in the Queensland and Federal elections.


“It was my belief that as Minister for Aboriginal and Torres strait Islander Affairs, and as an ex-president of the Queensland Liberal Party, you were in an unparalleled position to exert influence in this matter.


“I now repeat my call, but impress on you the need for swift and decisive action.


“Clearly it is too late for Queensland.


“I believe One Nation will not gather anywhere near that type of support elsewhere in Australia but everything must be done to stop its growth.


“It should be clearly understood that the overwhelming majority of Queenslanders - 75 per cent plus - took the principled decision in the polling booth on Saturday and firmly rejected One Nation.


“The Prime Minister now needs to take the same principled stand.


“In my view, this would significantly advance the process of reconciliation as we head towards the new millennium.”


Media contacts:

Brian Johnstone, 0417 212 926

Martin Freckmann, 018 631 045



Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission