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Legislation criticised

16 August 2007

by Muriel Porter, Australia correspondent

TWO Anglican leaders have publicly criticised the Australian Federal Government for its recent takeover of Northern Territory Aboriginal communities. The government intervention was a response to allegations of child sexual abuse in Aboriginal communities.

The Archbishop of Melbourne, Dr Philip Freier, said that the government should consult with indigenous people, and criticised aspects of the legislation. “These [actions] are not part of a democratic society,” he said. “Our indigenous communities deserve better.”

Dr Ray Cleary, who chairs the General Synod Public Affairs Commission, also condemned the government for its haste in forcing the legislation through in one day. But while praising the government for its concern for children, Dr Cleary said the legislation appeared to be an attempt to control Aboriginal land.

The legislation is expected to pass the upper house, the Senate, in the coming week.

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