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Malcolm Turnbull Moved to Tears as He Reflects on Lullaby During Indigenous Affairs Policy Interview

By ANNA HENDERSON
Reporter, ABC Parliament House Bureau

February 29, 2016 – A story of Indigenous family separation and the demise of traditional languages has moved the Prime Minister to tears.

NITV’s new current affairs program The Point aired a lengthy and wide-ranging interview with Malcolm Turnbull on his approach to Indigenous policy.

The Prime Minister spoke about the over-representation of Indigenous Australians in jail as a “crisis”, echoing the language of Indigenous leaders and many influential legal and health groups across the country.

He also left the door open to holding a referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians in the constitution next year, if the Coalition Government is returned.

He described that timeframe as a “feasible” prospect and also cautioned of the challenges.

But it was his recounting of the lead-up to this year’s Closing the Gap speech to Federal Parliament that provoked the rare show of prime ministerial emotion.

Mr. Turnbull delivered the opening paragraphs of the annual statement in the Ngunnawal Indigenous language.

It is believed there are more than 250 Indigenous languages that have existed in Australia — including 800 dialects — but many are completely or partially lost.

Mr. Turnbull’s office said he was researching ahead of the speech when he was shown a book of Ngunnawal stories, including a lullaby.

AAP is reporting the song was recounted by an elderly Aboriginal woman. She recalled her mother had sung it to her.

According to the article the woman is understood to be part of the Stolen Generations.

READ FULL ARTICLE: ABC News,. “Indigenous Lullaby That Pushed The PM To Tears“. N. p., 2016. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.

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