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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 11 Hansard (26 September) . . Page.. 3380 ..

Aboriginal tent embassy

(Question No 279)

Mr Cornwell asked the Chief Minister, upon notice, on 24 September 2002:

How do you equate your recent comments on the so called "Aboriginal tent Embassy" in front of Old Parliament House with the equally recent views of the local Ngunnawal people, who have expressed reservations about the tent "embassy" and its negative influence on aboriginal advancement.

Mr Stanhope: The answer to the member's question is as follows:

I am on the public record as strongly supporting the Aboriginal Tent Embassy as a symbol of the struggle by Australia's Indigenous community. I am aware that while the symbolic nature of the Embassy has broad community support, there are differing views in the community about its physical appearance and operations.

Various issues relating to the Embassy were raised at the meeting of Ngunnawal Elders in May 2002, particularly the need for agreed protocols for ceremonies conducted at the site. The meeting supported the symbolic nature of the Embassy. The Ngunnawal Elders will meet again in November 2002 to discuss, among other things, progress on operational issues relating to the Embassy. The views of all Ngunnawal family groups will contribute to the development of protocols for the Tent Embassy.

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Regional Office in Queanbeyan is facilitating the development of protocols relating to the operations of the Embassy. These are to provide an agreed process for organisations that want to consult with the Embassy, and to determine who is a representative of the Embassy and what kind of ceremonial events and activities the Embassy will undertake.

I commend the Regional Office of ATSIC for facilitating this process.

I believe that as the Embassy is on Ngunnawal land it is vital that all family groups of the Ngunnawal community have the opportunity to contribute to the development of the protocols for the future operation of the Embassy.

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