Topic: Politics

Will new Australian PM address long-standing Aboriginal issues?

By Ripeka Timutimu
  • Australia

New Liberal leader Malcolm Turnbull has been sworn as Prime Minister of Australia in a ceremony this afternoon at Australia's Government House.

Turnbull ousted Tony Abbott in a leadership challenge last night 54 votes to 44.  But will Turnbull finally address the long-standing issues of aboriginal in Australia?

He's a keen supporter of gay rights, and some are hoping he will back indigenous people just as much.

Prime Minister John Key and Opposition leader Andrew Little were surprised by last night's ousting.

Key says, “I also sent a text to Tony Abbott.  We have been close for a number of years.  But as we know politics can be brutal.”

Little says, “Clearly there are some issues in Australia.  There's something going on there, a more deep seated problem.  Something in Canberra's water.”

Former Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira is glad to see the back of him.

Harawira criticised the closing of Aboriginal communities earlier this year.

Political commentator Areti Metuamate says the Aboriginal community there is unsure of Turnbull's position on indigenous issues.

Metuamate says, “It can't possibly get any worse for us than under Tony Abbott and budget cuts in the area of aboriginal affairs, and he spoke a lot of advancement of aboriginal affairs but didn't do a great deal.”

Harawira says, “He doesn't display any concern for the Aboriginal community's wishes.  In my view, there isn't much difference between him and the guy who was kicked out.  However time will tell.”

Metuamate says that even though they've found their voice of protest, they've yet to find a strong voice in the House.

No doubt the indigenous people there have dreams that the new Prime Minister will help them to a better future in the coming years.