Patrick-DodsonThe Westender wishes to add its voice to the chorus of congratulation engendered by the announcement that indigenous elder Patrick Dodson is to replace retiring WA ALP Senator Joe Bullock.

Here’s just one media release, received from the Balaku Development Corporation in far North Queensland.

Pat Dodson’s nomination by Opposition Leader Bill Shorten as a Senator to replace Joe Bullock is a tremendous step forward for indigenous representation in federal Parliament, Chief Executive of Balkanu Cape York Development Corporation, Gerhardt Pearson, said today.

“Mr Shorten has shown foresight and political intelligence with this appointment,” Mr Pearson said.

“As the father of reconciliation, Pat will greatly assist the parliament’s thinking on constitutional reform and how to empower local communities to take more control of their lives and affairs.

“He will join the Northern Territory’s Nova Peris as one of two Labor indigenous Senators, which is a big step forward for the Opposition.”

Mr Pearson said he acknowledged and applauded Mr Shorten’s admission that there were not enough Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Parliament.

He said he took heart from Professor Dodson’s nomination, and the move by indigenous NSW Upper House MP, Linda Burney, to contest a federal Lower House seat for Labor at the upcoming federal election.

“I heartily congratulate both Senator-elect Pat Dodson, and Mr Shorten for making the appointment”, Mr Pearson said.