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Media Release
29 September 2004

Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs acknowledges treaty as fundamental

It's not every day grassroots Murris and activists get to sit down with a high profile politician to talk about issues in an informal setting.

But thanks to ANTaR's Sit Down at My Table - Connecting Candidates with Grassroots federal election strategy, that's exactly what happened with a dozen or so indigenous and non-indigenous constituents from the Brisbane Seat of Griffith earlier this week.

Their local Federal Member is Kevin Rudd who is currently the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs and formerly a high level advisor to Wayne Goss in Queensland state politics.

From left: Nadine Lester, Charlie Chambers, Helen Barnes, Kevin Rudd, Rose Best, Bruce Lillis, Margaret Hardy
From left: Nadine Lester, Charlie Chambers, Helen Barnes, Kevin Rudd, Rose Best, Bruce Lillis, Margaret Hardy.  Photo © 2004 Christine Howes

While the tea, coffee, croissants and fruit flowed freely, so did a fairly spirited at times conversation about issues ranging from treaty to health to homelessness to Asia to stolen wages.

Mr Rudd said he was personally very aware and very concerned about indigenous issues and said he thought a formal treaty between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians should be a matter of priority.

ANTaR Qld Management Committee member Bruce Lillis said the event had been a success.

"I think Kevin Rudd is seriously concerned that people are actually taking these issues to him and I think that means he's actually been handed a small offering of something that he can run with," he said.

"The main issue is treaty, which he seems to acknowledge is the fundamental constitutional basis for any kind of material changes, and the other main issue is the role that a Foreign Minister can play in talking up treaty as well as the actual facts of health, welfare and education.

"Other issues of primary importance were to do with grassroots distress in his own electorate and how he as a local MP can engage with that."

Participant Charlie Chambers said he was happy with what Mr Rudd had to say. "There was a quite a few issues we were wondering about and we're forgotten most of the time," he said.

"But what he had to say was good and we were happy with what he said.

"He should keep it up and they should say what they're going to do before the election, instead of slacking off after it."

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Last updated 20 January, 2005