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New Indigenous body meets

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 8 December 2004

The National Indigenous Council has come together at Parliament House in Canberra for its first meeting.

The Government-appointed council was set up to advise the Government on ways to improve services for Indigenous people in the wake of its decision to abolish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC).

The Opposition has accused the Government of placing a gag order on council members, only allowing the chair of the group to speak publicly.

But Indigenous Affairs Minister Amanda Vanstone says that is not the case.

"Name the advisory body, at a state or federal level, that doesn't have the chair as its spokesperson," she said.

"Nobody has been asked to sign confidentiality agreements. They have been asked to sign conflict of interest forms. That is standard practice, there is no big deal here."

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