Saturday 24 November 2007

Pearson: U-turn shows Rudd's true colours

The Australian yesterday reported that Rudd will now not be go ahead with a constitutional referendum on indigenous reconciliation.

The referendum was pledged by Howard and also Rudd's spokeswoman on indigenous affairs, Jenny Macklin, at the beginning of the campaign.

"Federal Labor notes the Prime Minister's announcement on constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians," Macklin said.

"Constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians has been long-held federal Labor policy, and this was affirmed at the ALP national conference in Sydney earlier this year.

"Labor offers bipartisan support to a commitment for constitutional recognition, regardless of the outcomes of the federal election."

However, Labor has now changed it's mind.

Rudd has just announced that he is "unlikely to pursue Howard's plan for a reconciliation preamble to the Constitution if he were elected."

"A referendum on Aboriginal reconciliation and a separate Aboriginal treaty, would not occur in the first term of a Rudd Labor government, if at all."

Noel Pearson, director of the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership, said in The Australian that what has transpired is surely a first for Australia:-

  • "This is a disgraceful and heartless abandonment of a policy promise that has been the subject of a bipartisan commitment for the past six weeks.

    "I was pleased that the commitment to reconciliation through such an ambitious policy - amending the national Constitution of Australia -- had secured support from the Coalition and Labor at the very beginning of the campaign.

    "Rudd has now reneged on the commitment he made on October 11. It shows a flagrant contempt for indigenous policy.

    "There are those who might think Rudd needs to secure the foundations for a second term of office by not championing unpopular issues such as those concerning indigenous people and who will place their hopes in the idea that it may be the subject of a second or third-term agenda under the ALP.

    "Here's a party leader who is highly likely to become prime minister breaks his first election promise just before the polling booths open."

    "Indigenous Australians are the victims of this disrespect. I have had long experience with Rudd's political cynicism and opportunism when we argued bitterly over the Goss government's Aboriginal land legislation in 1991 and over Paul Keating's 1993 Native Title Act.

    "I regret that Rudd has not changed from what I have long considered his innately contemptuous view of indigenous people and indigenous policy.

    "I am conscious my criticism of Rudd on the eve of the election will result in an acrimonious relationship with an incoming Labor federal government, but I will not stand silent while an election contender reneges so flagrantly on a commitment he made on day one of the campaign.

    "To me this issue is more important than Rudd's ambitions. For this betrayal, I dread a Rudd prime ministership.

I have to say that I'm stunned by Rudd's U-turn announcement.

It's obvious that this is nothing more than to appease conservative voters at the 11th hour to gain their vote. Many swinging voters or dis-enchanted Liberal voters, might be warmer to Labour if such a pledge was not part of a Labor government's programme, or so it seems.

There can be little rationale for such a turn around from Rudd, on such an important fundamental issue as reconciliation. It is long overdue to be confronted head on, and Labor, nor Rudd should be embarrassed by it.

For the thousands of votes that Howard lost on Wednesday for the fake ALP leaflets his Party members distributed, Rudd has equally lost a lot of support over this political grandstanding.

Indigenous relations and perceptions are so far behind public opinion and mainstream respect, and require a whole-of-government strategy to formally and genuinely move reconciliation forward.


KitchenSlut said...

This has become typical of Rudd again he has not been put under enough scrutiny and serious questioning during this campaign for voters to really know who he is beyond a glossy spin job.

Not many know that Rudd is also being backed by shooters groups seeking to water down gun control laws.

"The warmth between sporting shooters and Kevin Rudd can be explained by politics.
After Port Arthur, John Howard wrangled through tighter restrictions on gun ownership and bans on semi-automatic weapons.
It has taken just under 12 years but the gun owners are sniffing revenge." Malcolm Farr, Sydney Daily Telegraph

Rudd has been close to these groups and supported by them for years and a photo even appeared in the 2001 election edition of The Shooters Journal of Rudd reading 'The American Shotgun'.

Anonymous said...

More pie in the sky Liberal bulls**t.
Watch out Workchoices Charlie. I think Noel might be after your job. Keep digging Mark. Only 6 hours left.