Wayne Bergmann is the Chief Executive Officer of KRED Enterprises, a Broome-based charitable trust committed to independent Aboriginal economic development. He is also part-owner of National Indigenous Times.
If Labor wins the 2019 federal election, history will be made with Patrick Dodson becoming the Indigenous Affairs minister. It will be the first time that we will have an Aboriginal person in charge of Indigenous affairs in Canberra.
Pat will take on the huge responsibility of bringing the nation and Indigenous people together to tackle a suite of confronting and challenging issues, including making an Indigenous Voice to Parliament a reality, further establishing paths to Treaty for Indigenous Australians, and establishing a Makarrata Commission.
Pat is no stranger to challenge. His commitment to justice and fairness for Aboriginal people has shone throughout his life and has led to him to be known as ‘the father of reconciliation’.
His previous roles as Royal Commissioner into Aboriginal deaths in custody and as chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation have equipped him with the ability to balance the interests of the nation and Indigenous people.
Pat’s appointment as Minister for Indigenous Affairs should encourage all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – no matter what political persuasion – to embrace the historic opportunity to bring to resolution the structures and mandates needed for Indigenous Australians to be recognised and have their voices heard.
If Labor wins the election on May 18, we will all have a responsibility to put differences aside, to work together and support Pat for the good of Indigenous people and the nation.