As I am sure you have heard, Tony Abbot and Wilson Tuckey have criticized acknowledging Country as tokenistic. Needless to say we at NATSIEC reject this ill considered point of view and think it shows a lack of cultural understanding and respect. In fact, it is our policy to always acknowledge Country and is also in our Memorandum of Understanding with the National Council of Churches that all NCCA meetings must start with an acknowledgement.  Others have also made statements disagreeing with the leader of the Opposition and Tuckey. We think it’s best stated by the UAICC in their press release.


The Indigenous arm of the Uniting Church in Australia has today labeled the comments made by Tony Abbott and Wilson Tuckey concerning acknowledgement of Indigenous traditional owners of land as nothing more than an opposition desperate to maintain its relevancy.

National UAICC Administrator Rev Shayne Blackman and UAICC Chairperson Rev Ken Sumner said the venomous and archaic comments were deeply offensive to all Indigenous people and would unravel any goodwill the opposition may have had made in recent times.

“It is now clear that the Leader of the Opposition and his learned underling have no genuine understanding of how to politically or culturally align themselves to Aboriginal people and their struggle and regrettably their comments and stance will cost them down the line” Rev Blackman said.

“These are elected members of parliament who cannot be allowed to use their tax payer salary to incite contempt under the guise of genuine political commentary – it is one thing to make legitimate political statements, it is another to belittle any group within the nation for sensationalism” said Rev Blackman.

Rev Ken Sumner said Tony Abbott getting lost in the outback recently was indicative of planned media attention which may have been amusing to some however; the line was drawn in the sand over these obnoxious ‘media driven’ comments which cut to the very heart of the respect and recognition for what Indigenous people have been struggling for since this country was invaded.

“Further, by Wilson Tuckey deriding the weight of some Welcome to Country dancers is unhelpful and indicative of an individual who has no understanding of the very real health issues facing Indigenous people not having equitable access to good nutrition in remote communities” Rev Sumner said.

“We would have hoped for a responsible opposition party that sought to outline alternative policy to address the socio-economic plight of many Indigenous people – one of them being obesity linked to proper nutrition, not via derision and mockery” said Rev Sumner.