Gough Whitlam: a champion of a better deal for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people


ANTaR would like to pay tribute to former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam who died this morning.

Former Prime Minister Whitlam’s achievements are too many to list; however, ANTaR would like to acknowledge his efforts at forging a better deal for our First Peoples.

Mr Whitlam was in many ways a true champion for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights.

Among his achievements was the adoption of a doctrine of self-determination, supporting decision making by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities; the introduction of the Land Rights Act and handing back of Wave Hill Cattle Station to the Gurindji; the establishment of the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee to support national level policy input by Aboriginal people; and funding the Aboriginal Legal Service.

Mr Whitlam also passed legislationto outlaw discriminatory treatment of Aboriginal people and others based on race through the Racial Discrimination Act.

These initiatives represented a fundamental shift in the relationship between the government and the First Australians and formed some of the foundations for forging a more just Australia where our First Peoples rights are respected.

Today our nation has lost a great Australian.

ANTaR extends our sincere sympathies to Mr Whitlam’s family.