Queensland Senator Andrew Bartlett has labelled the Coalition’s hand-wringing about whether to support an apology to the Stolen Generations as ‘pathetic’, and warns the Liberals are letting Labor off the hook on the issue.
"Labor has breached their own party platform by refusing to consider a compensation scheme for the many people affected by Stolen Generation policies and practices," Senator Bartlett said.
“Yet despite Labor’s half-hearted approach on this, they look like champions next to the Liberals tragic incoherence.”
"We even have Liberal Leader Brendan Nelson making the outrageous suggestion that there are ‘greater priorities’ for Australia!
"What greater priority can there be for our country than addressing the outrageous inequalities affecting many Indigenous Australians and acknowledging the centuries of neglect, mistreatment and racism which is key part of the cause.
"To suggest the cost of petrol is a greater priority is a grotesque insult, but sadly reflects a not uncommon contempt for the reality of what many Indigenous Australians face.
"Website comments, letters to the editor and talkback comments on this issue all show that there is a deep vein of antagonism towards Aboriginal people from many other Australians.
"This antagonism can only be addressed through strong, confident leadership which makes genuine reconciliation, justice and equality a priority.
"While it is good that Labor is starting their term in government with a formal apology, there are very few other signs that they are giving priority to this issue," Senator Bartlett concluded.