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PM Sheds Tears During Interview With Stan Grant And Says Constitutional Recognition Could Happen By 2017

"Settling that injustice is an objective and obligation of every Australian".

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Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has shed tears during an interview with Aboriginal journalist Stan Grant on his program The Point premiering tonight on NITV.

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"The thing that's so sad is to imagine that mother singing that story to her at a time when you were losing culture and the last thing that baby was, was safe," Turnbull said.

Turnbull was speaking about the Ngunawal language, the traditional Aboriginal language of the Canberra area, which he used to open his speech at the Closing the Gap report launch.

The PM was recalling an old sound recording of a lullaby in Ngunawal, prompting him to cry.

"I am looking at the Prime Minister and there are tears in his eyes. He is recalling an old recording of a lullaby sung in the Ngunawal language. This is the language Malcolm Turnbull spoke in the parliament as part of his closing the gap speech earlier this month," Grant wrote on the NITV wesbite.

“The First Australians, who have been treated so unjustly, who’ve suffered so much over so long. Reconciling the nation with that history and righting those wrongs and settling that injustice is an objective and obligation of every Australian but especially of every Prime Minister,” Turnbull tells Grant during the interview.

Turnbull revealed during the interview that he believes constitutional recognition of Indigenous people could happen by 2017.


“It is complex and I believe a referendum next year is certainly feasible but we have to get that agreement and we will need overwhelming support for it to be carried,” Tunrbull said in the interview.

“The problem with changing the Australian constitution is that the Australian electorate is very conservative with the constitution and I think that’s partly because of compulsory voting. People who aren’t familiar with the question or haven’t read much about it are much more likely to vote no”.

Turnbull also told Grant that he would like to be seen as a prime minister for Indigenous people in the way that Tony Abbott said he was. However, he was unwilling to continue Abbott's tradition of spending one week a year living in an Indigenous community.

The 30-minute interview, the first Turnbull has given at the official prime ministerial residence, the Lodge, will air tonight on The Point on NITV at 9pm.

Formerly with BuzzFeed News, Allan Clarke is a NITV reporter based in Sydney.

Contact Allan Clarke at

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