In 2008, the Australia 2020 Summit aimed to "help shape a long-term strategy for the nation's future". Looking towards 2020 as a goal, the summit considered 10 policy areas including climate change, the economy, health, and Indigenous Australia. It asked: how do we create an Australia where all Indigenous people have the same range of opportunities and choices available to them as non-Indigenous Australians? And how can we meaningfully engage Indigenous Australians in creating the policies to move us towards that Australia? Now it's 2020. Australia is ripe for change. So where are we, and where do we have to go?
More than 150,000 people who signed the petition to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 have been left dismayed by the Council of Attorneys-General‘s defiance. By delaying a decision until 2021, they’ve wasted an opportunity to immediately improve the trajectory of some of our most vulnerable.
For centuries, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been protesting and campaigning to create opportunities for change. While a lot of inequity has been clawed back, there’s so much more to do.
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At just 3 per cent of the population, Indigenous people make up 27 per cent of all prisoners. Life expectancy is almost a decade younger. Family and domestic violence is unacceptably high, as is youth suicide and infant mortality.
Professionals working in these sectors agree, the vicious cycle of intergenerational trauma dates back to colonisation. Generations of families struggling against systems which originally set out to oppress and assimilate based solely on race. While those racist Government policies are long gone, systemic racism remains and it’s undeniable.
Prime Ministers, Royal Commissioners, Coroners and Police Commissioners are among those who’ve acknowledged the existence of systemic racism and the need to change. The solutions have been with us all along, in the pages of reports and findings that’ve been gathering dust for decades.