• "There are hard realities too for a Prime Minister looking to close the gap on indigenous disadvantage': Stan Grant. (AAP)Source: AAP
Following Malcolm Turnbull's emotive and heart-felt interview on NITV's The Point with Stan Grant on Monday night, the question now is - what will the PM do next?
Stan Grant

The Point
1 Mar 2016 - 11:48 AM  UPDATED 1 Mar 2016 - 12:18 PM

Peter Van Onselen the Sky News and Australian Newspaper columnist said it best: this was the human face of Malcolm Turnbull.

Van Onselen was speaking on ABC local radio discussing that moment in our NITV interview that the Prime Minister shed a tear over a lullaby to her child in a language almost lost.

Setting up for our interview Prime Minister Turnbull spoke of how an elderly Ngunawal woman from New South Wales recalled the time her mother sang to her, and how he felt the pain of that woman in a world changing around her.

It was a spontaneous moment and it struck a deep chord, but there are hard realities too for a Prime Minister looking to close the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

He told us that there is no "silver bullet" in Indigenous affairs – no one answer that will bring down imprisonment rates or increase life expectancy, lift employment or keep kids in school.

This is what Indigenous Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda calls the "good don’t know".

He says, there is "bad don’t know": those who have no solutions, but still tell Indigenous people what is good for them. “Good don’t know" says I am searching for answers.

Gooda is hopeful about Malcolm Turnbull. The Prime Minister himself says he wants to talk with Indigenous people not to them.

He speaks of lifting hope out of despair. He wants to build on success, promote innovation and encourage entrepreneurs.

But Indigenous leaders like Noel Pearson, speak of a deep crisis in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. He and others, see a political system that is broken that has left a legacy of failure.

It is summed up in the incarceration statistics: three percent of the population and nearly 30 percent of those behind bars.

Malcolm Turnbull says this is unacceptable. He is pledging to work with state governments, Indigenous communities, and employment groups to create alternatives and clear the pathway from detention to work.

The Prime Minister speaks of optimism. He speaks of cooperation and willingness to listen.

He is already being marked hard.

The National Aboriginal Congress – Indigenous Australia’s only elected national body – says it is still waiting to sit down with Prime Minister Turnbull.

Peter Van Onselen says leaders have struggled with Indigenous affairs: Kevin Rudd had the symbolism of the apology, Tony Abbott favoured practical measures, now we have the deep humanity of Malcolm Turnbull.

Van Onselen says "Indigenous Australia needs a leader with all three attributes: the symbols; the practical; the humanity."

Malcolm: over to you.

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