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Vanstone defends Indigenous council

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 9 November 2004

Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Amanda Vanstone has defended the recently announced national Indigenous advisory council.

Council members have expressed confusion about its role, and Indigenous leaders point to the absence of a representative from central Australia.

Senator Vanstone says the 14-member council reflects Indigenous achievement in a range of fields and is not meant to represent geographic regions.

She says the council will meet at least four times a year and is not intended as a replacement for ATSIC.

"A construct created in Canberra, it didn't work," she said.

"Only 20 per cent of Indigenous people bothered to vote in it, the other 80 per cent thought it was so useless they didn't participate in voting."

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