I congratulate Professor Pat Dodson on being nominated to fill the Senate vacancy for the Australian Labor Party in Western Australia.
Should Professor Dodson fill the position, he will bring a great deal of political and life experience around First Australians to the Parliament.
This year’s Closing the Gap report has highlighted there are still major challenges to eliminate Indigenous disadvantage, despite the progress that is being made.
For too many years under successive governments, the constant change in approach taken in Indigenous Affairs has, itself, become a barrier to improving outcomes for First Australians.
That is why the Coalition is working closely with Indigenous Australians, community by community, to ensure our approaches are implemented with First Australians – not to them – as the Prime Minister outlined in his Closing the Gap statement to Parliament last month.
The most effective way we, as a Parliament, can help to close the gap is ensure we work across party lines in a genuine bipartisan way. I am hoping this will be reflected in the approach taken to the Community Development Programme legislation currently before the Senate.
This continues to be my approach and I would look forward to working with Professor Dodson in Parliament to further advance the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.