I grew up in north Brisbane in the seat of Dickson (Peter Dutton's seat). Where I went to school, there wasn't a black person, a Muslim or a Jewish person in sight. I celebrated January 26 proudly, around the pool with my friends and our blow-up boxing kangaroo.
I grew up believing that, while Aboriginal people have been hard done by, ultimately, their life is better now. We learned that the Stolen Generation was a long time ago and that white people were just trying to help Aboriginal kids. I would discuss with my friends, "Don't they get free houses?" "Don't they get special treatment at uni?" "Don't they get access to free university?" "They get access to so many benefits."
Watch: We can all agree, January 26 is one of the most complex dates in Australia. Post continues after video.
Then, I met a beautiful Aboriginal man, my now husband, Pat. Pat's father and his five siblings were taken from their mother (all under the age of five). I heard tragic stories of their childhood, punctuated with isolation and disconnection. The Stolen Generation wasn't in the "olden days" like I had thought.
I discovered while interacting with his family, not much had changed from the "olden days".
Not a benefit in sight and Aboriginal children are the highest cohort of foster children, Aboriginal people represent 30 per cent of incarcerated people, while only three per cent of the Australian population. Deaths in incarceration are at staggeringly record highs amongst Indigenous people, suicide is the leading cause of death in Aboriginal kids.