Indigenous ceremony proper ‘welcome’

Lanai Vasek; 16/3/10

Aboriginal elder Allen Madden thinks Tony Abbott’s views on traditional indigenous ceremonies are rubbish and to abandon them at the start of important gatherings amounted to trespassing. Mr Madden, who performs two or three welcomes a week to Sydney’s Gadigal land at $250 to $300 for each welcome, said the Opposition Leader’s comments were “just political noise to get a headline”. Mr Abbott told The Advertiser the ceremonies were an “empty gesture”, prevalent because of the Rudd government’s “obsession” with acknowledging the traditional owners of land. “It’s like a stranger coming over to your house and barging their way in … isn’t it correct to actually welcome them in properly? That’s what these ceremonies are all about,” Mr Madden said. “It’s not a token … it actually means something and is very important.”