– An open letter to Prime Minister Rudd –

The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Prime Minister
Parliament House
CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister Rudd,

NATION BUILDING, FIRST PEOPLES AND THE BUDGET SURPLUS

At a time when the people of the United States of America may be about to elect the first person of colour as their leader, the Australian Federal Parliament does not have one indigenous representative.

In terms of nation building, there is an enormous backlog to be addressed both by way of restoring full well-being to Australia’s surviving First Peoples and by securing the best foundations for an Australian nation which serves all peoples.

Three crucial nation building projects deserve your government’s immediate attention (in terms of the use of the remaining Budget surplus) at this time:

1. Urgent action to reverse the long neglected health and well-being needs of senior indigenous men – the original law carriers – who are dying far too young and unable to play their key role in their communities. An “Elder Centred approach” is required to truly stabilise people’s lives.
2. A compensation/healing fund for hurt members and families of the Stolen Generations (by way of a tribunal and not through the courts).
3. Initial and adequate funding for a culturally appropriate means of representation for First Peoples to enable them, as cultural partners, to participate fully in Australia’s systems of governance – as of 2009.

With increasingly scarce money being redirected into stimulating the economy – in the name of nation building – it is vitally important that real foundational matters are put first.

Your leadership here is vitally important.

Yours truly

Bruce Reyburn
Lionel Murphy Scholar 1990

Tuesday 4 Nov 2008