Saturday, January 30, 2010

Rudd delays Indigenous progress report

ABC January 30, 2010, 10:13 am

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has broken his promise to give an update on Indigenous progress on the first day of Parliament for the year.

Two years ago, Mr Rudd said making the annual statement on the first working day would greatly increase pressure on his Government to make progress towards closing the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and other Australians.

But instead of giving his report on the first day next Tuesday, Mr Rudd will use a date closer to the anniversary of his apology to Indigenous Australians.

Mr Abbott has questioned if the issue is still as important to Mr Rudd.

"It was very wrong of the Prime Minister to grandstand in this way with Indigenous people if he's going to let them down by not keeping [his promise]," he said.

"The fact that he's not having these statements on the first day of the parliament suggests that the issue isn't really as important to him as he suggested back on apology day."

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert says she is concerned Mr Rudd is not giving the statement the prominence it would have had on the first day of sittings.

"Doing it on the first day of Parliament puts it front and centre and means its high on the Government's and the prime minister's agenda," she said.

"I fail to see why he isn't reporting on that day, other than he feels that its not top of his priority any more.

"Perhaps they haven't made as much progress as he was thinking they might at the time."

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