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Tom Calma's final Social Justice report a 'blueprint for action' on the Apology

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 4 May 2009

The Australian Greens today welcomed the launch of the Social Justice report by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Tom Calma, describing the report as a 'blueprint' for converting Kevin Rudd's apology to the stolen generations into action.

"Tom Calma's report sets out clearly the key steps the Federal Government needs to follow between now and the next election to deliver on its promises on Indigenous health, education and healing," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

"Yet again he backs up his recommendations by pointing to a collection of success stories from community-based initiatives that have produced real outcomes for urban, rural and remote Indigenous communities."

The report calls on the Rudd Government to establish a credible national Indigenous representative body, enact a remote Indigenous education strategy, reinstate the Racial Discrimination Act, put in place a properly funded long-term plan to achieve health equality, establish a Human Rights Act and amend the Constitution.

"Taken as a body of work, the series of Social Justice and Native Title reports Tom Calma has produced during his time as Social Justice Commissioner represent the most comprehensive, practical and compassionate analysis of the complex range for problems facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in contemporary Australia," she said.

"This is why it is beyond my understanding that the Rudd Government have not sought to renew his contract at the end of his five year term. I consider that the manner in which they publicly advertised his position without consultation is a terrible insult to a person who has shown such thoughtful leadership in this difficult area during tough times," said Senator Siewert.

"The only assumption the community can draw from this treatment is that the Rudd Government has not appreciated his thoughtful criticism and detailed analysis."

"The Greens will be watching with interest to see if his replacement will embody the same combination of independence, community engagement and hard work."

"Tom Calma will be a hard act to follow - he has set a high standard for the roles and responsibilities of the Social Justice and Native Title Commissioner. We commend him on his achievements and thank him for a job well done," concluded Senator Rachel Siewert.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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