Inward looking

The state of Australia’s remote indigenous communities is a cause for nation shame. While the world looks to other conflicts – and journalists, myself included, too often ignore our own backyard – The Age’s Lindsay Murdoch issues a stark warning to all:

“Some starve and beg for food. Some are molested and abused and nobody talks about it. Most have had no formal education. Their infant mortality rate is four times higher than the national average and they will die 20 years younger than the average Australian. The hidden children of Australia’s remote indigenous communities are among the world’s most disadvantaged.”

NT Grants Commission chairman Bob Beadman explains the urgency. “People need to be shocked,” he said. “They need to be moved from tacit acceptance that everything is OK. A huge task confronts the nation and particularly Aborigines themselves.”

Greater awareness is a positive first step, but it’s far from enough. Throwing money at the “problem” is also a misguided approach, as successive governments of all stripes have discovered. When was the last time Aboriginal issues were seriously discussed in the media, and not just for a day or two?

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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