The focus of the council will be to create jobs and reform the country's welfare system. Abbott had promised to make aboriginal affairs a priority during his election campaign. He said that he will continue to spend a week a year in a remote indigenous community.

The new council will be led by Australia's opposition Labour Party member Walter Mundine. "There is not any stone that we won't turn over and have a look at," Mundine said.

Indigenous Australians are the original inhabitants of the continent and nearby islands - they are believed to have migrated from Africa to Asia about 70,000 years ago and to have arrived in Australia about 50,000 years ago.

In 2008 then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally apologized to the indigenous population for mistreatment of stolen generations.

"We apologize for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians," he said in his historic apology.

"We apologize especially for the removal of aboriginal and Torres Strait islander children from their families, their communities and their country," Rudd said.


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