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Rights groups say Govt dragging heels on reforms

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 21 March 2005

The Federal Government has been accused by various human rights groups of dragging its heels, following criticism of Australia's racial discrimination record by the United Nations.

In Geneva this month, Australia was questioned about the abolition of ATSIC and changes to the Native Title Act and the Human Rights Commission.

A coalition of non-government organisations involved in the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination says the Federal Government has been given a year to further explain its record.

Coalition member David Cooper - also from the group Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation - says despite requests for a meeting, the Federal Government has not been forthcoming.

"It was an issue at the actual hearing itself and members of the committee made comment on Australia's defensive attitude in relation to this and the fact that it hasn't really produced a full account of itself to the committee," he said.

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