Social justice is grounded in the practical, day-to-day realities of life.
It’s about waking up in a house with running water and proper sanitation;
offering one’s children an education that helps them develop their
potential and respect their culture. It is the prospect of satisfying
employment and good health. However, this is not the case for indigenous
Australians. They continue today to be disadvantaged. It is these aspects
which will be addressed in our presentation today.
I myself will discuss with you how Aboriginals experience socio-cultural,
political and economic inequality and injustice.
Angela will deal with how the institutions of education, law and work have
historically responded to Aboriginals
Renee will cover how the supportive organisations deal with the injustice
Lastly, Nazy will discuss how a community welfare worker can achieve
greater justice and fairness.
Play video- this is just a short snippit of the Australian film ‘rabbit
proof fence’. While watching it I would like you to consider, how much has
changed, between then and now..
Inspite of significant reform and politicising of Aboriginal communities it
is a sad testament that Aboriginals still represent lower health, income,
housing and education to name a few.
I have decided to divide my section into categories. These include:
. The governments accountability for reconciliation
. Indigenous Peoples participation in discussion making
. Family violence
. Lastly, Statistics in terms of the progress in addressing Indigenous
Put up overhead with heading reconciliation
During 2003, the government’s approach to reconciliation has continued to
be restricted to measures that fail within its practical reconciliation
It was been reported that there has been limited progress over the past 5
years in achieving the central reason of reconciliation, namely improved
Aboriginal well being. Of particular concern are the differences that exist
between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Many suggest that this
gap many have indeed widened over the past 5 and 10 years. The gap is so
much that the indigenous Australians according the social Justice report,
presently experience health standards worse than those in so called third
2003 saw the development of reconciliation within the framework of the
Council of Australia Governments (COAG). Write this up with chalk The
national reporting framework on indigenous disadvantage is in fledgling
stages and there are a number of issues that remain unaddressed before
success is assured.
Overall, COAG offers much potential for reforming inter-government
approaches to service and delivery to indigenous Australians. However long-
term success is another issue. Success will become depend on how the trials
promote structural change, in terms of how the government goes about
delivering these so called services to the Aboriginals. Reform is also
necessary in terms of how these services will be monitored and evaluated.
Or how else will success be achieved if current methods are failing?
There also remains a national absence of commitment to redressing the
issues of reconciliation. It needs to start with people such as our selves
in this very room today. Why should reconciliation lie solely on the
government, in enacting legislation? Which may I add are only “words”.
Ultimately, the process of practical reconciliation is hampered by its lack
of substantial action plan for overcoming indigenous disadvantage in the
longer term, with short term objectives to indicate the rate of progress
towards its goal is sufficient.
Such deficiencies in monitoring and evaluating process for reconciliation
indicate that there are problems of accountability within the government
itself. This lack of accountability allows governments to establish the
boundaries of issue that they will address in the first place and to avoid
public scrutiny when aboriginal justice is not achieved or sustained.
Put up a overhead with the heading decision making
There has been an increase attention over the years to the nature of the
relationship between the Aboriginals and the government. Indigenous peoples
seek to challenge the underlying basis of their relationship to governments
in Australia. Indigenous peoples have come to realise that the current
system perpetuates a cycle of dependency and is also not contributing to or
promoting sustainable improvements in indigenous communities and individual
well being. This accompanies the concern that the service delivery model is
not delivering long-term improvements. The current system is said to reduce
the idea of the development to one of community development and provide
little encouragement to economic development.
Put up a overhead saying family violence
Indigenous concepts of violence are much broader than usual mainstream
definitions of domestic violence. Many current approaches to family
violence derive from a model of ‘domestic violence’- violence against
women, underpinned by female oppression. These do not fit indigenous
experience. Rather than sharing a common experience of sexism binding them
with non-indigenous women, this may bind them more to their community,
including the men of the community. Indigenous people also have a negative
perception of the police and welfare authority.
When examining the criminal justice system and their response to domestic
violence, two criticises may be highlighted. Firstly, that system is
generally ineffective in addressing the behaviour of the perpetuator in the
long term. The effect of imprisonment is to remove people from their
community and then, without any focus on rehabilitation or addressing the
circumstances that led the offence to take place in the first place and
then simply returning them to the same environment. Secondly there is a
range of barriers in the accessibility a cultural appropriateness of legal
processes which discourage women from using the criminal justice system in
the first place.
Addressing family violence is a shared responsibility between all levels of
the government with prime responsibility lying with health and community
service agencies There are a patchwork of programs and approaches to
addressing family violence in indigenous communities among all levels of
government, but their remains a lack of coordination and consistency.
Review of existing approaches identifies a critical need to adopt a
holistic approach to the problem of family violence and identifies in the
need for all organisations to work in partnership.
Put up overhead of statistics and read through
I will leave you with something to think about… how much has changed
since the clip in the video and my speech to you today? Is it still US and
THEM ? And why, when it was the whites that invaded this space originally?
Put up the overhead after this with the closing thought.