On September 5th, as Prime Minister Scott Morrison took office, our Aboriginal Spokesperson Brooke Prentis sent an email requesting an urgent meeting with her and Aunty Jean Phillips.
It was paramount that our new Prime Minister met with Aboriginal peoples – and especially Aboriginal Christian Leaders – if we were to see meaningful progress on Aboriginal justice issues in this land.
But two months later, not only has there not been a reply, we’re seeing alarming decisions made that are causing distress amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities - without appropriate consultation.
That's why we're asking you to email our PM and urge him to meet with Brooke and Aunty Jean?
Brooke's initial request for a meeting came from a few major events in the weeks preceding - Scott Morrison’s appointment as the new Prime Minister of Australia, the Prime Minister’s appointment of Tony Abbott as Special Envoy on Indigenous Affairs, the Guardian’s reporting on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody “Deaths Inside” and lack of government action to implement recommendations, and listening to the calls of National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples Co-Chair, Dr Jackie Huggins, say to the Prime Minister, “We have cried enough over you.”1
But every week, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have more reason to mourn.
This week, we cried again as we remembered broken hearts. It’s now 12 months since the rejection of the Uluru Statement from the Heart seeking a voice in Parliament, Treaty and Treaties, and a truth and justice commission.2
This week, we cried again as we remembered broken systems. We saw disturbance at the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre in the Northern Territory, a centre the Royal Commission into the Don Dale Youth Detention Centre recommended be closed twelve months ago.3
This week, we cried again as remembered broken policies. We questioned Indigenous Advancement Strategy funding decisions by Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, to allocate half a million dollars to Non-Indigenous cattlemen and fishing groups to defend Aboriginal land claims.4
To Prime Minister Scott Morrison, we say, we have cried enough.
As a Common Grace movement, we have been on a journey with Aboriginal Christian Leaders, a journey that starts with listening and learning, a journey where we sit together in pain, stand together for justice, and walk together in truth and friendship, as we pray for change.
That’s why we need your help to follow up Brooke's request for a meeting, by sending the PM an email.
We have seen the Prime Minister in Queensland this week where he said, “This is me just doing what I do.” We pray that who he is, and what he does, includes listening, learning, and acting, as he builds friendship with Aboriginal peoples - and friendship starts with meeting with Aboriginal peoples.