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More indigenous representatives needed in Australian politics.

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Bob McMullan - More Indigenous Representatives Needed In Australian Politics Thursday, 12 July 2001

More Indigenous Representatives Needed In Australian Politics Bob McMullan - Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Reconciliation

Media Statement - 11 July 2001

Less than one per cent of Australia's 822 State and Federal political representatives are Indigenous, Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs and Reconciliation, Bob McMullan, said today.

Mr McMullan was speaking today at Aboriginal ALP Candidate, Fred Leftwich's Campaign Launch for the ACT electorate of Molonglo.

"Less than one per cent Indigenous political representation at the State and Federal level is a poor result and all political parties have a responsibility to ensure that this figure improves," Mr McMullan said.

"Indigenous representation of Australia's approximately 5,500 Local Government Councillors is equally bleak.

"Recent activity in NSW has led to an increase of Indigenous Councillors from 4 in 1989 to 31 today (2%).

"A number of Indigenous Labor candidates will be running in winnable positions at the next Federal election and I look forward to seeing more Indigenous representatives in the Federal Parliament after the next election.

"To ensure all Australians are represented at all levels of Government we must ensure that as many citizens as possible are enrolled to vote and participate in elections.

"Of the 260,000 Indigenous Australians over the age of 18, only approximately 140,000 (54 per cent) are enrolled to vote.

"Unfortunately, one of the first acts of the Howard Government was to cut the Australian Electoral Commission's program for educating Indigenous Australians about enrolment and election issues - the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Electoral and Education Service.

"I am also concerned the Howard Government is considering forcing voters to produce certain forms of identification when enrolling, and closing the role when an election is caused - Government's should make it easier for people to vote not harder.

"I wish ALP Candidate for Molonglo, Fred Leftwich, well in his campaign and look forward to seeing him in an ACT Stanhope Government," Mr McMullan said. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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