NSWALC welcomes Patrick Dodson to the Senate

NSWALC welcomes Patrick Dodson to the Senate

2 March 2016

The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council has welcomed the announcement that former Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, Patrick Dodson, will fill a casual Senate vacancy in Western Australia.

NSWALC Chairperson, Cr Roy Ah-See said that Mr Dodson's integrity and experience will be an asset to the Federal Parliament.

"For more than 30 years Patrick Dodson has been at the forefront of every debate shaping the future of Aboriginal people.  From land rights and deaths in custody to reconciliation and constitutional recognition, Patrick's vision, inclusiveness and wisdom have been a constant presence," Cr Ah-See said.

"It is pleasing that the Labor Party has looked outside the square and recruited a leader of genuine national stature to one of its Senate positions."

Cr Ah-See said that should NSW Deputy Opposition Leader, Linda Burney be successful in her bid to enter the House of Representatives, the Federal Parliament would have by far the strongest representation of Aboriginal people in its history.

"Importantly, there will be Aboriginal representation on both the Government and Opposition benches regardless of which party wins the next election," Cr Ah-See said.

Senator Dodson and Ms Burney would join Assistant Health Minister, Ken Wyatt, and Senators Nova Peris and Joanna Lindgren in the Parliament.

"Hopefully this critical mass of Aboriginal Parliamentarians will be able to achieve real outcomes for our people," Cr Ah-See said.

"NSWALC urges these parliamentarians to put their party differences aside and work together on the things we all agree on - land rights, closing the gaps in health, education and employment, reducing incarceration, achieving constitutional recognition and keeping our culture strong."

Cr Ah-See said this increased mainstream political involvement comes at a time when participation in Aboriginal elections was also strengthening.

"We had a ten percent increase in our recent Land Council elections in NSW.  This greater political participation by our mob is not only good for Aboriginal people but also Australian democracy."