Saturday night was a shock to say the least. For my fellow politics junkies that spent their Saturday night glued to the ABC to watch the Election results, you’d know that the punditry, the betting agencies, three years of polling, and nearly all of the talking heads had called this one for the Labor Party.
And yet, by about 8pm it started to become clear that the electorate was about to deliver a very different outcome to the one we’d all expected.
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, the implications are big and many.
After years of strong and consistent advocacy last week I got to hear Senator Patrick Dodson and Shadow Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, announce over $100 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice.
Last week, I had a chance to do a ‘roadie’ with my old boss and former Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda. I’ve done a couple of trips with Mick over the years and it is always good fun doing a long drive with the great man.
Modern day scars
Many young Aboriginal people today are wearing scars on their chests. Unlike the traditional tribal scars that were inflicted with humility and courage, these modern-day scars represent a very different story. These scars are a story of decades of systemic failings and the discrimination of the oldest living culture on the planet - the First Nations people of Australia.
With the release of the Australian Reconciliation Barometer just over a week ago, I was heartened to see an increasing support for reconciliation and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in their own affairs.
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and our supporters, we’re often worn down by the endless cycle of bad news, bad policy or government not listening to us.
As we turn our minds to another February Closing the Gap speech from the Australian Prime Minister, a practice begun by Kevin Rudd in 2010, we hold in our minds a quiet fear that all this ritual, all these numbers, belie the nagging feeling that we are getting no-where in our attempts as a nation to redress Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander disadvantage.
To my Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters I just want to say, ala George in Seinfeld, “it’s not you its me.” Or more to the point, the failure to close the gap is the failure of non-Indigenous gover
Once again the annual Prime Ministerial Closing the Gap statement approaches.
This Thursday PM Morrison delivers the next report to the nation on Closing the Gap. What is he likely to say in his report and are we any closer to closing the gap between First Nations peoples and non-Indigenous peoples in this country? All this with the backdrop of a Federal Election looming large as the most consequential election for Indigenous Affairs in over a decade. ANTaR National Director Paul Wright catches you up on Closing the Gap.
I thought it was timely to do a bit of a stocktake on closing the gap.