Tony Abbott reopens culture wars over nods to Aborigines

Samantha Maiden; 15/3/10

T0ny Abbott has opened up a new front in the culture wars by declaring that Kevin Rudd and other Labor ministers demonstrate a misplaced sense of political correctness when acknowledging the traditional owners of land at official functions. Mr Abbott’s dismissal of the modern practice of acknowledging traditional owners as “out-of-place tokenism” also won support among some Aboriginal leaders, who have described the trend as “paternalistic”. The Opposition Leader said Labor politicians felt obliged to observe the practice, despite the fact it was inappropriate in many instances. “Kevin Rudd is not an old-style lefty … but the Labor Party is full of people who are, and I guess this is the kind of genuflection to political correctness that these guys feel they have to make,” he told Adelaide’s The Advertiser. “Sometimes it’s appropriate to do those things, but certainly I think in many contexts, it seems like out-of-place tokenism.”