'Malcolm Turnbull should make a place on his very first day to meet with Indigenous people. That should be a priority'
Source:
NITV News
18 Sep 2015 - 5:13 PM  UPDATED 18 Sep 2015 - 7:53 PM

EXCERPTED TRANSCRIPT FROM NITV NEWS WEEK IN REVIEW

Malarndirri McCarthy: So no surprise to you, what happened this week and the way it happened?

Stan Grant: I don’t we’ll ever be surprised in Australian politics any more, can we, after the last five years. I was just reflecting the other day Barack Obama has been President of the US for seven years and he is now on his fifth Australian Prime Minister, so no we’re beyond surprise. I don’t think it’s good. I don’t think it’s good for Australian democracy to be turning over leaders at such a rate. I think there is something clearly wrong with our system where we seem to be trapped between the Westminster traditions of a Prime Minister as a first among equals elected by his own party to lead, and a presidential style electorial process where people think that they are actualy voting for a particular leader, and we’re trapped between that.

For Indigenous people of course, it is all the more acute, because at less than three percent of the population – we don’t have the clout of the ballot box that others do and we rely on the consistency and the strength of leadership to really make a difference. 

'We don’t have the clout of the ballot box that others do and we rely on the consistency and the strength of leadership to really make a difference.'

Malarndirri McCarthy: Over half a billion dollars was taken from the Indigenous affairs budget so she is talking about the anger from that. Warren Mundine has yet to meet with the PM for the Indigenous Affairs Advisory Council. What do you think it says about the fact htaat Warren hasn't been able to have that conversation?

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Stan Grant: Well it says that there is a clear issue of priority here. I don't think there is a more significant issue facing Australia than the situation facing Indigenous people in Australia, and the gap between Indigenous people and the state. That is the oldest contining running sore in Australian politics.

It should be the first priority. Malcolm Turnbull should make a place on his very first day to meet with Indigenous people. That should be a priority.

"Malcolm Turnbull should make a place on his very first day to meet with Indigenous people. That should be a priority"

Malarndirri McCarthy: But should he have picked up the phone and said 'Warren Mundine, you know, you are the chair of the Prime Minister's Indigenous Advisory Council'.

Stan Grant: Whether it's Warren Mundine or whoever it might be, the personality is not important, but [Malcolm Turnbull] needs to to make this a priority. I'm really saddened by the fact that once again we have a prime minister leaving office having failed to achieve his objectives in Indigenous affairs.

Remember Paul Keating and his Redfern statement. For all the grandiose words and the attempt to reconcile our history. He left with his vision unfulfilled.

Kevin Rudd with the apology and that extraordinary moment that was felt all round the country initiating the Close the Gap measures.

He left still with a job undone.

Stan Grant: As Les Malezer had to say there, we don’t need a white protector. The problem for Tony Abbott is he saw himself as the Prime Minister of Indigenous Affairs, and only looked at us through the lens of being a welfare officer, or a truant officer or a missionary. We need someone who can empower our communities. Who can listen to us. Who can come to us for the answers. 

Watch NITV News Week In Review on Fridays at 5.30pm. Miss it? Catch the repeats over the weekend at midday and 5.30PM. NITV (ch 34 / 144)