KILLARNEY-based musician Archie Roach has called on new Prime Minister Tony Abbott to prove he is serious about indigenous Australia.
The singer-songwriter was asked about the nation’s new leadership after receiving a Lifetime Contribution Award for Healing the Stolen Generations at Tuesday night’s 19th Deadly Awards in Sydney.
“I don’t know what to think about Tony Abbott,” he said at the annual celebration of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander achievement in music, sport, entertainment and community.
“(Abbott) reckons he wants to work with indigenous people but only time will tell if we are able to work with this man and his government and bring about some real change.’’
Roach, who was stolen from the Framlingham Aboriginal Mission as a child, said the Northern Territory intervention remained a “sore point’’ for indigenous people and he also wanted to see Australia’s first people recognised in the constitution.
He also wants indigenous people to have a say in who is considered genuine asylum seekers.
“We know there are genuine people fleeing war-torn countries who have no hope.”
Roach, who suffered a stroke in 2010 and had surgery for lung cancer in 2011, won another Deadly on Tuesday as Into the Bloodstream was named indigenous album of the year.
“I’m just happy to be able to make music at this stage of my career, so it’s a great honour to be recognised in this way.”
Deadlys organisers said Roach’s contributions to his people were “deep, long-lasting and real . . . his work focused an international spotlight on the stolen generations and did much to mobilise Australia into action”.