NACCHO Alert : Statements to Parliament #1967referendum #Mabo25 speeches from PM @TurnbullMalcolm and @BillShortenMP

 ” I want to thank the ‘67 Referendum campaigners and thank the Mabo campaigners for the gift they gave our nation through their perseverance and dedication to their peoples and cultures.

And I thank all First Australians who preserve their ancient culture, work so hard to maintain and recover ancient languages.

Your culture defines who you are, it speaks to your country, your identity, your belonging.

For time out of mind, for more than 50,000 years your people and your culture have shaped and been shaped, cared for and been cared by, defined and been defined by this land, our land, Australia.

Your culture, our culture, is old and new, as dynamic as it is connected – on the highest tree top the new flower of the morning draws its being from deep and ancient roots.

Now it is up to us, together and united, to draw from the wisdom and the example of those we honour today and so inspired, bring new heights and brighter blooms to that tree of reconciliation which protects and enriches us all

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull speech : Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th Anniversary of the Mabo Decision

Download full PM Speech here PDF

Prime Minister 1967 Referendum specch to house

Image above designed by Kristina McKinlay from NCIE Event

On Sunday 28 May from 12-5pm the NCIE 180 George St Redfern is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the successful 1967 Referendum at a community event.

NCIE CEO, Kirstie Parker said, “We’re proud to host stories and memories from the referendum campaign at the NCIE. We hope many of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and wider communities will be able to attend to share stories, memories, film, images and food with us.”

 “And finally to a referendum, the highest hurdle in Australian politics, asking Australians to vote Yes for Aboriginal people.

I want to say, as we acknowledge the champions and heroes here, I want to acknowledge the 90.8 per cent of Australian, perhaps some of us here, our parents and grandparents – they too deserve credit for righting a long-overdue wrong.

That overwhelming verdict speaks for a country that came late to the need for institutional change – but our families did get there in the end.

And it speaks for people who refused to take ‘No’ for an answer.

As the celebrated poet Oodgeroo put it:

“The real victory was the spirit of hope and optimism…

We had won something… We were visible, hopeful and vocal.

Fringe-dwellers, no more”

Mabo was an historic decision – and the Keating Government made it an historic turning point. Without regard for politics or polls, Paul Keating took the opportunity to ensure justice was done.

He brought Indigenous leaders to the Cabinet table itself to negotiate the Native Title Act – including our friend, now-Senator Patrick Dodson.”

Bill Shorten Opposition Leader : Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th Anniversary of the Mabo Decision see full Speech Part 2

Download full Bill Shorten Speech here PDF

Bill Shorten 1967 Referendum Speech to house

View speech here

Or Here

Mr Speaker.

Yanggu gulanyin ngalawiri, dhunayi, Ngunawal dhawra. Wanggarralijinyin mariny bulan bugarabang.

I acknowledge we are on the lands of the Ngunnawal and Ngambri people and pay my respects to their elders past and present.

Australians come from nearly 200 countries, of all faiths, all cultures and all backgrounds.

And yet in a world where conflict and intolerance seem more intractable than ever, we live together in peace and harmony in the midst of extraordinary diversity.

Our nation has a bright future and much to celebrate.

However, Mr Speaker, we know that we have not always treated our First Australians with the respect that they deserve.

Truth is the first step towards healing.

And this week we honour those milestones that helped our nation chart a course towards reconciliation and healing – the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, 25 years since the Mabo High Court decision, and 20 years since the Bringing Them Home report.

Fifty years ago, laws and regulations controlled where our First Australians could and couldn’t move and what they could and couldn’t do – lives limited, lives demeaned, lives diminished.

Generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children were removed from their families and communities. We acknowledge that this removal separated children from their mothers and fathers, their families, their lands, their languages and cultures – cared for by their ancestors for over 50,000 years.

Indigenous Diggers, returned from war having defended our freedoms, our democracy and the rule of law, were denied the rights of citizenship for which they had so fiercely fought.

Fifty years ago our nation was given the opportunity to vote for change.

And, Mr Speaker, our nation did.

No member of this place authorised a ‘no’ case.

The Parliament and the community were united.

The Constitutional amendment was substantial, as it needed to be.

And the result defined our nation.

The 1967 Referendum had the highest ‘Yes’ vote of any Referendum before or since.

By working together as one, we voted as a nation to enable the Commonwealth to make laws relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and for our First Australians, who had always been here, to finally be counted in the official population.

As the Indigenous rights campaigner, the late Chicka Dixon told his daughter Rhonda, who is here today, ‘The government counted everything. They counted the cattle, the cars, the TVs, but they didn’t count us. It’s like we were invisible’.

A campaign badge said ‘Vote Yes for Aborigines’ and the Referendum was known as ‘the Aboriginal question’. But this was a question about our Australian values, and the nation voted yes for Aborigines and for Australians.

And so the campaign was fought on the platform of rights and freedoms. Indigenous people wanted and demanded to enjoy the full and equal rights of the citizenship they had been granted years earlier.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in many parts of the country could still not freely attend public swimming pools, sit in the classroom at a public school without fear of exclusion, or have a drink with their mates at the local pub. And fundamentally our First Australians could not shape their own identity.

And that discrimination and exclusion diminished us all as Australians.

It did not reflect the sacrifices and the contribution our First Australians made to our nation, or indeed the humanity of all of us, all our fellow Australians.

90.77 per cent of people recognised this injustice and voted for change.

This renewed confidence inspired our first Indigenous Parliamentarian to join the Liberal Party—Neville Bonner who entered the Senate in 1971.

Pat Dodson, Malarndirri McCarthy and Jacqui Lambie serve in the Senate today as Neville Bonner did.

And Ken Wyatt was the first Aboriginal man to be elected to this House, and Linda Burney the first woman.

Ken, the Minister for Ageing and Indigenous Health is the first Indigenous Minister in a Commonwealth Government.

The 1967 Referendum provided the constitutional basis for our native title legislation and heritage protection.

And in response to the historic Mabo High Court case, which overturned the doctrine of terra nullius, the Parliament passed the Native Title Act in 1993.

Today, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights and interests in the land have been formally recognised in over 40 per cent of Australia’s land mass.

The number of determinations under the Native Title Act now outweigh the number of claims currently registered.

The ownership and custodianship of the land has led to greater economic empowerment of communities across the country, the preservation of culture, and a network of Indigenous rangers who maintain our lands for our children and grandchildren.

And just as we could not foreshadow all the positive implications of these changes, great things can flow from amending the Constitution again.

We must not forget, Mr Speaker, that the road to the 1967 Referendum was neither short nor easy.

For more than 50 years before, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had fought to stop discrimination by governments.

There were many compromises along the way.

Building on the success of the ’67 campaign, 50 years on, we now have the chance to take another step in our journey.

An important Indigenous designed and led discussion is occurring at Uluru today, as our nation considers further changes to the Constitution.

It is vitally important our First Australians consider and debate the models of recognition, free of political interference, and that the diversity of views and opinions within the Indigenous communities are discussed.

The next step in Constitutional recognition needs to be embraced by all Australians, but it needs first to be embraced by our First Australians if it is to be proposed at all.

I know I speak for the Leader of the Opposition when I say we both look forward to receiving the report from the Referendum Council.

The early campaigners who stood up for what was right, who fought to stop discrimination and whose contribution to the nation has been so remarkable should be recognised, remembered, well known.

As I was saying to some of you earlier this morning – you have written great bold chapters in our nation’s history.

Campaigners like Worimi man Fred Maynard, who established Australia’s first all-Aboriginal political organisation, the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association in New South Wales in the early 1920s. Fred wanted the right for Aboriginal people to determine their own lives, control their own land, and for the New South Wales Government to close the Aborigines Protection Board.

Campaigners like William Cooper, a Yorta Yorta man from Victoria, who tried to petition King George V seeking Aboriginal representation in the Australian Parliament. The then Government said ‘no good purpose’ would come of sending the petition, and they didn’t – a glimpse of the political powerlessness experienced by Aboriginal people in those days. I acknowledge the presence in the House today of William Cooper’s great-grandson Kevin Russell.

Jessie Street had an unwavering belief that the time was right to launch the campaign for the 1967 Referendum. Jessie said: “You can’t get anywhere without a change in the Constitution and you can’t get that without a referendum. You’ll need a petition with 100,000 signatures. We’d better start on it at once”. And together they did. We welcome Jessie’s grandson, Andrew Mackay, and great grandson, Will Mackay, who are here today.

Joe McGinness brought state representative bodies together to speak with one respected voice to Government and the people of Australia. Joe is one of the great unsung leaders of our nation. Senator Pat Dodson has said that Joe was: “The inspiration to many…who have joined in the battle for justice. He has provided wisdom and advice, guidance and correction, humour and hope.” We welcome his daughter Sandra McGinness, who is here with us today.

Sir Doug Nicholls was a founding member of the renamed Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, a coalition of church leaders, unionists and Indigenous activists.

Sir Doug’s daughter Aunty Pam Pedersen and granddaughter Diana Travis—who were both in the campaign, Diana as a teenager—are also here today.

These are just some of the many people who brought wisdom and leadership to ‘67’s cause.

So too did Jack and Jean Horner, Stan Davey, Shirley Andrews, Pearl Gibbs, Hannah and Emil Witton, whose daughter Heidi and granddaughter Keren Cox-Witton are with us today.

And, of course there was Faith Bandler who campaigned so hard—for 10 years—and who would help bring the Referendum home.

Faith’s vision was clear—to see Aboriginal people as ‘one people’ with all Australians.

Hers was a message, not of assimilation, but of unity – of black people and white people working together, equally valued. Faith did not want to be singled out – in her view the Referendum outcome was the result of good teamwork

We honour all those who stood together including those in the house with us today—Aunty Dulcie Flower, Aunty Shirley Peisley, Aunty Ruth Wallace, Uncle Bob Anderson, Uncle Gordon Briscoe, Dr Barrie Pittock and Uncle Alf Neal.

The Freedom Riders led by the young Charlie Perkins in 1965, brought racial discrimination into the minds of Australian households and appealed to a great Australian value – a fair go. Welcome Eileen Perkins, Charlie’s wife, his son Adam and three grandsons.

And on the 3rd of June we will acknowledge a critical milestone in Indigenous land rights—the 25th anniversary of the historic Mabo High Court decision.

It was Eddie Mabo and the other plaintiffs, Father Dave Passi, Sam Passi, James Rice and Celuia Mapo Salee who’s perseverance brought about the High Court of Australia’s decision to recognise the native title rights of the Meriam people of the Murray Islands in the Torres Strait.

And they are all represented here today. I want to especially acknowledge the presence of Eddie Mabo’s wife, Aunty Bonita and their daughter Gail.

Eddie Koiki Mabo was an advocate of the 1967 Referendum, fighting for equal rights including education. But despite the success of the ‘67 campaign, in 1972 Eddie Mabo still had to get permission from the Queensland authorities to visit his dying father on Mer Island. That permission was denied. Six weeks later his father died.

Gail wrote: “My father never forgave the government authorities for this injustice. It fuelled his determination for recognition and equality in society”.

In 1982 the Mabo case began.

It was hard fought and it took its toll.

Eddie Koiki Mabo passed away on the 21st of January 1992, just months before the High Court recognised what he and his fellow plaintiffs had always known – that Mer Island belonged to the Meriam people and that Meriam customs, laws and cultures had existed for tens of thousands of years.

Mr Speaker, we were fortunate to have Eip Karem Beizam from Mer Island who performed a hymn in memory of that momentous time.

Thank you for your beautiful hymn, and for bringing the Meriam language into the parliament today.

Au Esau – thank you.

We have come a long way since the Referendum and the Mabo case, but we have not come far enough.

We have made gains in child health and infant mortality rates and in fighting chronic disease. Native title holders are unlocking their lands for cultural protection and economic empowerment.

More Indigenous students are enrolling in university than ever before, and around two-thirds are women. For Indigenous university graduates, there are no employment gaps with the rest of the Australian population.

But the gains are not enough.

I want to ensure that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians are equally educated and equally empowered—that Australians are ‘one people’, as Faith Bandler and her fellow campaigners so desperately hoped and fought for.

That’s why today, in furtherance of our programs and our policies and objectives we are announcing a $138 million education package further to enable the economic and social inclusion for which the ’67 campaigners fought.

As Sir Douglas Nicholls said: “All we want is to be able to think and do the same things as white people while still retaining our identity as a peoples”.

For full inclusion in the economic and social life of the nation, we need our young Indigenous people to have a solid education, while keeping strong their identity.

Mr Speaker, today we reflect on the past and its impact on the present. We look forward with hope and optimism. We are joined today by 50 Indigenous Youth Parliamentarians who stand today on the shoulders of these giants.

I want to thank the ‘67 Referendum campaigners and thank the Mabo campaigners for the gift they gave our nation through their perseverance and dedication to their peoples and cultures.

And I thank all First Australians who preserve their ancient culture, work so hard to maintain and recover ancient languages.

Your culture defines who you are, it speaks to your country, your identity, your belonging.

And as we embrace in reconciliation your culture enriches us all.

For time out of mind, for more than 50,000 years your people and your culture have shaped and been shaped, cared for and been cared by, defined and been defined by this land, our land, Australia.

Your culture, our culture, is old and new, as dynamic as it is connected – on the highest tree top the new flower of the morning draws its being from deep and ancient roots.

Now it is up to us, together and united, to draw from the wisdom and the example of those we honour today and so inspired, bring new heights and brighter blooms to that tree of reconciliation which protects and enriches us

Bill Shorten Opposition Leader : Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th Anniversary of the Mabo Decision

Thank you Mr Speaker

Firstly, I wish to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet, and I pay my respects to elders past and present.

This parliament stands on what is, what was and what will always be Aboriginal land.

It is important – and right – that more Aboriginal people come to stand here as Members and Senators.

And I want to thank our friends from the Torres Strait for the welcome ceremony. It is always astonishing to see the world’s oldest culture brought to life in front of you.

On behalf of the Opposition, I want to give a special welcome to the original warriors for change – and their proud family members.

Your presence here today enriches this day – it puts a human face on history.

In fighting to be part of the Australian identity, you gifted a larger identity to all Australians.

You and your guests simply make us more proud to be Australian.

Today we commemorate and celebrate two signal moments in our Australian story and we honour the heroes who made it possible.

The 1967 Referendum and the High Court’s Mabo decision were triumphs for truth telling and for decency.

Both were platforms for further progress.

And overwhelmingly, both were victories authored by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

People who for so long had been relegated to silent roles, or written out of the script altogether – took centre stage.

In 1967, they looked non-Indigenous Australia in the eye and said:

Count us together.

Make us one people.

And in 1992, the insulting, discriminatory fiction of terra nullius was overturned.

While he tragically did not live long enough to see justice done, Eddie Mabo kept the promise he made to his darling daughter Gail, who is here today, when he said:

‘One day, my girl, all of Australia is going to know my name’

Our country is bigger and better for the courage and endeavour we remember today.

But we should never forgot that neither of these acts we commemorate today sprang from a spontaneous act of national generosity.

None of these changes happened by accident – nor were they given as gifts from the table. These were earned.

They were battles against ignorance, fought in the face of indifference.

They were the result of struggle, the culmination of years of campaigning, of grassroots advocacy, of rallies and freedom rides.

Of lobbying and legal wrangling, the setbacks and sacrifice.

Like all great acts of progress – they were hard fought, hard work and hard won.

Victory didn’t just change our Constitution, or our laws, it changed our country for the better.

Mr Speaker, fifty years is not so long ago.

It’s not so long ago that fans could cheer the brilliance of the great Polly Farmer – a man who overcame polio to transform the role of ruckman forever.

But at the same time, when selected three times as an All-Australian, his Aboriginality meant he wasn’t counted as an Australian.

Not so long ago that Buddy Lea, a section commander in 10 Platoon at the Battle of Long Tan – could be shot, three times, while trying to carry a comrade to safety, return home a hero to his brothers-in-arms, he had the chance to die for Australia, yet not be counted in the census as an Australian.

Not so long ago that Australian mothers lived with the perpetual chronic anxiety that their child could be taken from them, stolen away from culture, country and connection.

And you only have to talk to members of the Stolen Generations – as the Prime Minister and I did yesterday – to know that shadow has still not even departed.

Mr Speaker

Exclusion from the census was a disgraceful insult – the bitter legacy of the political bickering of Federation and its obsession with ‘race’.

But far more harm was done by the provision which prevented the Commonwealth from making laws with regard to Aboriginal Australians.

This gave successive Federal Commonwealth governments an alibi for failure – it left the First Australians at the mercy of a patchwork of arbitrary state policies.

Struggling against institutionalised prejudice which cemented inequality and denied basic freedoms.

A racist system which broke families and shattered connections with country.

Where men, women and children lived with the fear that on a policeman’s whim or an administrator’s paternalism they could be deported from their communities to hell-holes hundreds of miles away.

We do honour to the people of 1967 and the plaintiffs of Mabo to use today as time to think hard about the cost of institutionalised prejudice – to generations and to our nation.

On the weekend, Michael Gordon wrote movingly of what Indigenous Queenslanders called ‘life under the act’

He spoke with the remarkable Iris Paulson, one of 11 children, sent to Brisbane from Cherbourg mission to work as a servant for ‘pocket money’.

Iris still carries her ‘exemption card’ which allowed her to travel and to marry without permission from the authorities.

She still carries the memory of Auntie Celia’s inspiration.

A proud Aboriginal woman who:

Said what she thought at a time when a lot of people were too scared to speak, for fear of being pushed back onto the reserves.

The Prime Minister has mentioned some of the names but:

· Auntie Celia

· Pearl Gibbs

· Charles Perkins

· Jessie Street

· Faith Bandler

· Pastor Doug Nicholls

· Stan Davey

· Bert Groves

· Joe McGinnis

· Kath Walker

· Chicka Dixon

And many others, some of who we are privileged to have here today, deserve recognition for making the 1967 referendum possible.

All had witnessed – and lived with – inequality.

Faith Bandler used to talk about her time in Young, picking cherries for the Land Army during the Second World War.

Chatting with the Aboriginal people working on the adjoining property.

She learned they were picking the same fruit, at the same pace, for the same purpose – but for far less money.

Doug Nicholls’ speed and skill took him all the way from the Goulburn Valley League, to train with the famous Carlton Football Club.

One night, he went into the rooms for a rub-down.

The trainer refused – point blank – to touch him. He would not put his white hands on Doug’s black skin.

Carlton’s loss became Fitzroy’s success. Doug went on to become a Fitzroy champion – but he never forgot that night.

I welcome his daughter, Pam Pederson here today.

This is the world it is perhaps too easy to forget existed. But this is the world that the people we honour today lived in – these are the attitudes and practices they were up against.

Their task was far bigger than one campaign for one vote. It meant:

· Breaking the ‘great Australian silence’ that cheapened and diminished our history.

· Opening the eyes of this country to inequality and poverty

· And finding new ways to tell a story as old as Australia’s European history.

In May 1957, a full ten years before the vote, Pastor Doug Nicholls screened a film in the Sydney Town Hall showing the hardship experienced by Aboriginal people living in the Warburton Ranges.

It captured hunger and disease – it showed children ‘too weak to brush flies from their face’.

One newspaper reported: “there were cries of disgust and horror – and people openly wept”

The meeting attended by 1500 or so – and supported by the Australian Workers Union – launched the first petition to parliament for Constitutional change, tabled by the Labor

Member for Parkes, Les Haylen.

In the years that followed folding tables and clipboards were set up in church halls and shopping streets, in country towns and big cities.

And by 1963, campaigners for change had collected 103,000 names – before the internet, before social media and before smartphones. This was human commitment: face-to-face meetings and persuasive argument.

Soon, members of the house started referring to the petition as the ‘morning prayer’ – because it was the first item of business every day.

This was all hard graft – eroding resistance, tackling self-interest, refusing to rest until the issue was at the centre of the political debate.

Everything done on a shoestring budget of small coin donations.

And finally to a referendum, the highest hurdle in Australian politics, asking Australians to vote Yes for Aboriginal people.

I want to say, as we acknowledge the champions and heroes here, I want to acknowledge the 90.8 per cent of Australian, perhaps some of us here, our parents and grandparents – they too deserve credit for righting a long-overdue wrong.

That overwhelming verdict speaks for a country that came late to the need for institutional change – but our families did get there in the end.

And it speaks for people who refused to take ‘No’ for an answer.

As the celebrated poet Oodgeroo put it:

“The real victory was the spirit of hope and optimism…

We had won something… We were visible, hopeful and vocal.

Fringe-dwellers, no more”

Mr Speaker

The same spirit lived in Eddie Mabo – he knew who he was and where he belonged.

As he said: ‘sticking a union jack in the sand’ didn’t ‘wipe out 16 generations’.

He took that essential truth all the way to the highest court in land.

And for once, a justice system which had so often failed and disappointed our first Australians, came through.

Native title became part of the inherited common law – not dependent on the largesse of government or second place to business deals.

Eddie Mabo’s victory stretched far beyond the sand and waters of the island he loved.

It reached back two centuries to eliminate the ignorant lie of terra nullius and enshrine in our laws: the bond between the world’s oldest living culture and this ancient continent.

It also proved that one man, with love for his country and his culture in his soul can change the world.

Mr Speaker

Mabo was an historic decision – and the Keating Government made it an historic turning point. Without regard for politics or polls, Paul Keating took the opportunity to ensure justice was done.

He brought Indigenous leaders to the Cabinet table itself to negotiate the Native Title Act – including our friend, now-Senator Patrick Dodson.

In the Senate itself, Gareth Evans spent more than 48 hours of the debate on his feet,

taking questions and fending off an attempted Opposition filibuster.

Today we are all the beneficiaries and witnesses to the legacy of Paul Keating’s

courage.

Mr Speaker

In remembering these historic achievements, we are reminded of the tension, the balance between celebrating success, honouring our past and recognising unfinished business.

Reconciliation has always depended on truth-telling.

We love to say Australia punches above our weight – and it does.

Nowhere is that more true than in the brilliant accomplishments of our Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander peoples.

– Scientists making breakthroughs

– Authors winning acclaim

– Artists

– Architects

– Rangers on country

– Olympians

– Senators

– Ministers

– Australians of the year

– Champions in every footy code.

This is all true. But what is also true is the inequality that brought tears to the eyes of that crowd in Sydney Town Hall in 1957 – that inequality, in different forms, still lives with us.

Stubbornly, obstinately, not yet eradicated.

In different guises, paternalism and neglect still afflict our policy-making.

Empowerment is said a lot more than it is delivered.

In too many ways, not enough has changed in 50 years.

Too many young Aboriginal men are more likely to go to jail than to university. 40 per cent of Aboriginal children are in out-of-home care. Children growing up away from their country and from kin, away from their culture – struggling at school during the day, battling trauma at night.

Too many mothers still lose their precious babies to preventable disease.

Too many of our first peoples grow up with lesser opportunity – for good jobs, decent housing, a happy family and a long life.

Changing this means tackling the nitty-gritty of practical disadvantage.

Understanding that what works in Yirrkala might not apply in Palm Island, that what succeeds for the Murri might not deliver for the Pitjantjarra.

Recognising that every community, whilst linked by their Australianess, has its own culture and its own particular circumstances.

But regardless of the community, every community of our first Australians has the right to participate in the Australian story – and we should do whatever it takes to give them that chance.

As a parliament and a people we should come to this task with humility as well as hope.

It is why Constitutional Recognition is most hard – but most important.

Securing a place of honour for the first Australians on our national birth certificate isn’t the final word, or the end of the road. We understand that.

But it does say we are serious – serious about justice, both historical and real.

It says we’re prepared to help write a new story with Aboriginal people, our first Australians, a chapter which is a story of belonging.

That’s why Recognition cannot be empty poetry authored by white people.

It has to be as real as Australia can make it, as meaningful as we are capable collectively of achieving.

In that spirit, we await the conclusion of the gathering at Uluru – and the advice presented to the Prime Minister and myself, and all of us privileged to serve this parliament.

Mr Speaker

Fifty years ago – to the Holt Government’s great credit – it didn’t fund the case against constitutional change.

Remarkable really. A parliament full of white men, many born at the turn of the 20th Century, approved a straightforward statement of the ‘Yes’ case.

And I quote:

Our personal sense of justice, our common sense, and our international reputation in a world in which racial issues are being highlighted every day, require that we get rid of this out-moded provision.

If that parliament, in those days could find common ground on the elimination of discrimination from the Constitution.

If they could summon the humility to acknowledge that however firmly they had clung to their old attitudes, those attitudes were wrong.

Then surely we – 50 years later – in our more reconciled, a more confident and more diverse modern Australia.

Surely we can find it in our abilities, in our intellect, in our heart to achieve Constitutional Recognition.

So, in celebrating these old anniversaries and looking back – it falls to this parliament, to ask ourselves the question: What will be our contribution going forward?

The words and the sentiment of everyone here is admirable, it is excellent. But we will not have the ability to shirk the question that will be asked of us.

It is our turn to step up. Not to find fault – but to find common ground.

Not to look for the lowest common denominator – but to find change that we hopefully, in 10 to 20 years’ time, can say: Do you remember when answered up? When we measured up?

When we spoke to the better angels of the Australian nature. That we actually said that this Constitution can afford to recognise our first Australians.

I am grateful for the presence of so many of those who campaigned in 1967, of those who campaigned in 1992, of the family members.

You give us inspiration.

You do this place honour.

I sincerely hope and promise – that we will do our very best to carry that spirit, and your courage for the questions we must answer.

We must answer affirmatively for Constitutional Recognition of our first Australians.

 

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and Education #RightWrongs #NRW2017 #Uluru : PM announces $138 million #1967Referendum 50th Anniversary Indigenous Education Package

The Turnbull Government will invest an additional $138 million to increase opportunities and improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The 1967 Referendum 50th Anniversary Indigenous Education Package will support First Australians through their education and into employment.

Please note graphic above provided by Prime Ministers Office @ThePMO

The announcement today honours the spirit and determination of those who campaigned for the successful 1967 referendum, and will further enable the social and economic inclusion for which they fought.

 

Download full details PDF here nrw-education-package

The referendum, one of Australia’s greatest acts of reconciliation to date, enabled the Commonwealth to make laws relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and for our First Australians, who had always been here, to finally be counted in the official population.

A key component of the Education Package is a $25 million fund to leverage partnerships between governments, businesses, industry and philanthropic organisations to offer scholarships to First Australians to study Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

The fund will support the development of a STEM academy for girls to inspire a future generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women into STEM jobs.

The Indigenous education package offers the same level of assistance to girls and boys and builds on the Government’s significant investment in Indigenous education through mentoring, scholarships and school-based academies.

A summary of the education package is available here.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #BTH20 Report released : Bringing Them Home 20 Years on : An action plan for healing

“ While this report might primarily detail the response from government to the Bringing Them Home report, it is not a report to government about government.

 This is a report for everyone, and outlines as a whole how we can actively support healing for Stolen Generations and their descendants.

There needs to be commitment to making change. We all have a responsibility to do this together.

 The price of not acting on the recommendations means an increased burden for Australia as a whole. It’s time for action. We need to address the unfinished business—for the sake of our Elders, our young ones, for our entire communities and all Australians.”

Bringing Them Home 20 Years on : An action plan for healing

Download the 2017 Report Here :

Bringing Them Home 20 years on – 23 May 2017

 ” Tony Abbott’s signature Indigenous Advancement Strategy worsened the Stolen Generations’ trauma by funnelling mental health and social services funding to non-indigenous NGOs, in some cases to the very churches that ran the insti­tutions to which the children were forcibly removed.

On the 20th anniversary of the landmark Bringing Them Home report, a review to be handed to Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten today says most of its recommendations have not been implemented “

From Todays Australian  See below Part 3 for full Text

Photos below : The PM and Opposition leader meeting with members of the Stolen Generation this morning

“Not only have we denied Aboriginal People the right to their families but their right to culture; stories; traditions & language.”

The Hon Malcolm Turnbull Prime Minister

Part 1 : 20 YEARS ON:  IT’S TIME TO HEAL THE TRAUMA

Australia’s aging Stolen Generations are still struggling with the impacts of unresolved trauma, and need a new policy approach to assist them and their families to heal.

That’s a key finding of a major new report launched today by the Healing Foundation.  The launch marks 20 years since the landmark Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Federal Parliament.

Called Bringing Them Home 20 Years On, the new report sets out an action plan to overhaul Australia’s Indigenous policy landscape.

Healing Foundation Board Chair Steve Larkin said the failure to implement the recommendations of the original Bringing Them Home report has made matters worse for all Indigenous Australians.

“Our Stolen Generations haven’t been able to heal because Australia has failed to address their needs in a co-ordinated, holistic way.  As a result, their grief, loss and anger is being passed onto their kids and grandkids,” said Professor Larkin.

The Healing Foundation found the most pressing needs highlighted by the report are for:

  • Federally coordinated financial reparations similar to the Commonwealth Redress Scheme provided to survivors of child sexual abuse
  • a full analysis of the Stolen Generations changing needs as they age
  • a national study on intergenerational trauma, its impacts, and the best ways to address
  • ensuring all professionals who work with the Stolen Generations and their descendants – from police to mental health workers – are trained in recognising and addressing Indigenous trauma

Chair of the Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Committee Florence Onus is one of four generations of women who have been forcibly removed from their families.

“I embarked on my healing journey when at 21, my mother attempted suicide.  With family support I became her full time carer and together we began the journey of healing,” said Ms Onus.

Florence is passionate about breaking the cycle of trauma through healing, education, cultural identity and spiritual nurturing.

At the event in Federal Parliament House Ms Onus and Professor Larkin will present Australia’s political leaders with a copy of the report

Part 2 : Report Executive summary

On 26 May 1997 the landmark Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Federal Parliament. The report was the result of a national inquiry that investigated the forced removal of Indigenous children from their families.

This marked a pivotal moment in the healing journey of many Stolen Generations members. It was the first time their stories—stories of being taken from their families—were acknowledged in such a way.

It was also the first time it was formally reported that what governments did to these children was inhumane and the impact has been lifelong.

Did you know?

  • The first Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998—exactly one year after the Bringing Them Home Report was presented to the Parliament.
  • The Bringing Them Home Report resulted from an inquiry into the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, and recommends both an apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and reparations.
  • The term “Stolen Generations” refers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians who were forcibly removed, as children, from their families by government, welfare or church authorities and placed into institutional care or with non-Indigenous foster families.
  • The forced removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children began as early as the mid-1800s and continued until the 1970s.
  • Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia have implemented state-based Stolen Generations reparations schemes

Most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been affected by the Stolen Generations.

The resulting trauma has been passed down to children and grandchildren, contributing to many of the issues faced in Indigenous communities, including family violence, substance abuse and self-harm.

Messages from NACCHO CEO Pat Turner and June Oscar

Two decades on and the majority of the Bringing Them Home recommendations have not yet been implemented. For many Stolen Generations members, this has created additional trauma and distress.

Failure to act has caused a ripple effect to current generations. We are now seeing an increase in Aboriginal people in jails, suicide is on the rise and more children are being removed.

Addressing the underlying trauma of these issues through healing is the only way to create meaningful and lasting change. Commemorative events, like the 20th anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report, are an important part of the healing process, for Stolen Generations members, their families and the broader community. In order to change, you have to remember.

The anniversary presents an opportunity to reset—to secure sustainable support to help reduce the impact of trauma.

This report, which was informed by the Healing Foundation’s Stolen Generations Reference Committee and other Stolen organisations, outlines an action plan for long term and holistic change.

As the first stage of taking action, the Healing Foundation has identified four key priorities which can be quickly addressed to build an evidence-based and equitable framework for healing.

Priority one

A comprehensive needs analysis so that we can tailor and deliver more effective service for Stolen Generations members that also represent the best possible return on investment. Right now, we don’t know how many Stolen Generations members are still alive, let alone the demographic data that would enable us to optimise service design and delivery.

We don’t know that needs have changed over the past two decades, as Stolen Generations members reach their elderly years and require specific aged care services.

Priority Two

A national scheme for reparations to ensure equal access to financial redress and culturally appropriate healing services, where state and federal governments – and the institutions that caused the harm – share the cost of the burden. Some States have recently announced reparation schemes for Stolen Generations members, which suggests a promising level of commitment to an overarching federal scheme.

Some states have recently announced reparation schemes for stolen Generations members, which suggests a promising level of commitment to an overarching federal scheme.

Priority Three

Coordinated and compulsory training around stolen Generations trauma so that the organisations working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are better equipped to provide effective and appropriate services.

The aim is to ensure that everyone has the skills to identify and appropriately deal with trauma- from police to frontline social and health workers, and staff at every level within key policy and provider organisations.

Priority Four

A comprehensive study of intergenerational trauma and how we can effectively tackle it. Measures to deal with intergenerational trauma need to underpin future strategies addressing social and health problems in Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander communities, including suicide, domestic violence, substance abuse, incarceration rates and the high numbers of children entering the protection system

Part 3 : Abbott’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy backfired for stolen generations

Tony Abbott’s signature Indigenous Advancement Strategy worsened the Stolen Generations’ trauma by funnelling mental health and social services funding to non-indigenous NGOs, in some cases to the very churches that ran the insti­tutions to which the children were forcibly removed.

From Todays Australian

On the 20th anniversary of the landmark Bringing Them Home report, a review to be handed to Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten today says most of its recommendations have not been implemented.

The review also says the ageing nature of the cohort of indigenous Australians removed from their families for decades up until the 1970s, usually forcibly, means there will be specific aged-care needs that have not yet been planned for.

Attention to financial redress has been inadequate and more work must be done on the impact of the intergenerational trauma behind high rates of suicide, domestic violence, substance abuse, incarceration rates and increasing numbers of children being put in care, it says.

This trauma was identified as a result of the official policies of child removals, and the subsequent brutalisation in institutional settings.

The review, by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation, says training around Stolen Generations’ trauma must be improved so everyone from “police to frontline social and health workers and staff at every level within key policy and provider organ­isations” can provide effective services. It notes that the number of Stolen Generations members alive is not known but suggests a minimum realistic estimate of 15,000 people, with an extra 160,000 having immediate family who were removed.

The review, co-written by Lowitja institute chairwoman Pat Anderson, notes the failure to act since the 1997 report has “caused additional trauma and distress” for Stolen Generations members and had a “ripple ­effect” on current generations.

It notes research that shows those who had been removed, or who had parents, grandparents, great-grandparents or siblings removed “are around 50 per cent more likely to have been charged by police, 30 per cent less likely to report being in good health, 15 per cent more likely to consume alcohol at risky levels and 10 per cent less likely to be employed” than other indigenous Australians.

It also notes that despite some focus on healing, very little of this has been aimed at repairing relationships between Stolen Generations and their communities, which “has fed lateral violence resulting in increasing isolation”.

The Indigenous Advancement Strategy was introduced by Mr Abbott as prime minister in an attempt to streamline the delivery of services and create better efficiencies. It has been widely panned, including by a Senate committee and the Nat­ional Audit Office, for its hasty and poorly planned implementation, for channelling large program streams through non-indigenous organisations and inadequate indigenous decision-making input. A key focus of constitutional reform talks at Uluru this week by the Referendum Council will be how to achieve “substantive” change giving indigenous Australians a decisive influence on policymaking which affects them.

For more Info

NACCHO Aboriginal Youth Health : Youth programs deliver a social return of more than $4.50 to every dollar of investment

 

” The report found the programs resulted in improved health outcomes and self-esteem, greater engagement with education and training, and increased school attendance and literacy.

They also saw a decrease in anti-social and criminal behaviour, reduced drug and alcohol abuse, and fewer children sentenced to youth detention. Relationships between children and their families, the community and authorities also improved.

Well-funded and consistent youth programs deliver a social return of more than $4.50 to every dollar of investment, a report on Northern Territory services has found.”

Nous Group consulting firm, examined three youth programs in Utopia, Hermannsburg, and Yuendumu, which each had “different levels of program size, resourcing and sophistication of activities

Report by Helen Davidson The Guardian

Photo above : Children play in Utopia, where the youth programs were forecast to return $3.48 for every dollar spent. Photograph: Getty Images

Download the report HERE

The study, on the impact of youth programs in remote central Australia, found that, with enough support and effort, youth programs provided significant support to children, their families and communities, as well as the broader health, education and justice systems.

They also actively reduced rates of crime and drug and alcohol abuse among young people.

The report, presented in Canberra on Tuesday, comes amid ongoing issues with youth crime and substance abuse in the Northern Territory, and skyrocketing rates of incarceration – particularly among Indigenous youth – across the country.

The royal commission into the protection and detention of children in the NT has spent recent weeks hearing of the importance of early intervention in stopping the cycle of criminal behaviour and incarceration.

It found all three were forecast to create a positive return over the next three years, ranging from $3.48 in Utopia to $4.56 in Yuendumu.

The study said a successful youth program was “reliant on stable and skilled youth workers, regular and consistent activities and community involvement in the design and delivery of the program”.

“Creating conditions that can deliver these prerequisites in the remote environment takes resourcing, time and skilled support,” it said. “However, if time, resourcing and support is insufficient, there is a high risk that youth programs will be unable to produce the value identified in this study.”

The Warlpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation (Wydac) – formerly known as the Mt Theo program – was found to have the biggest return.

Based on Nous’s social return on investment formula, it had a projected a social return worth $14.14m for a two-year investment of $3.01m in 2017/18 and 2019/20.

Wydac, in the community of Yuendumu, 300km north-west of Alice Springs, employs seven staff and has up to 120 young Indigenous trainees, a number of whom go on to become youth workers themselves, Wydac said.

The Hermannsburg youth program, which has run since the mid-1990s but saw increased funding from 2007/08, also saw positive outcomes and a projected return of $8.05m of social value on a funding investment of $1.95m.

In Utopia, a region home to fewer than 300 people about 250km north-east of Alice Springs, a youth program, which centred on a drop-in centre and with emphasis on sport and recreational activities, has operated consistently since

The anticipated investment of $1.02m in the Utopia program was forecast to generate about $3.56m of social value.

The findings were guided and verified by a stakeholder group that included the youth programs, regional shire councils and territory and federal government departments.

The report was commissioned by the Central Australian Youth Link Up Service (Caylus), which was set up by the federal government in 2002 to address an epidemic of petrol sniffing in remote central Australian communities. It now coordinates and supports youth programs and responds to sniffing and other substance abuse outbreaks across the region.

The organisation has consistently maintained that substance abuse issues must addressed on both the supply and demand sides, and youth programs effectively addressed demand.

“Stakeholders in remote communities across our region consistently state that youth programs are essential to give kids good things to do, keeping them busy and away from trouble,” it said in the report.

Blair McFarland, co-manager of operations at Caylus, said it had been difficult to get successive federal and governments on board with the idea that consistency in delivery is key. “No one seems to have understood the value of those youth programs – partly because [people in cities] don’t understand the context of where they’re happening,” he said.

“Communities of 300 people with no coffee shops, movie theatres, and local parks which are dusty things which you could fry eggs on in summer.”

In these places, where extreme poverty, high unemployment, and low engagement with Centrelink support are also factors, there is “literally nothing else” for young people to occupy themselves with without a youth program.

“In that context the youth programs were a little island of hope, it demonstrated to the little kids that somebody cared about them,” he said.

McFarland said there had been vast improvements over the past 15 years but there were still big gaps in resourcing – and the situation was far better in central Australia than in the Top End.

“We’re hoping governments think about that and focus on every kid having the opportunity to attend a youth program.”

The Nous Group principal, Robert Griew, said his company partnered with Caylus as part of its work supporting community organisations.

“The big takeout message [from the report] is the longer those programs are sustained and supported you get an increasing return,” he said. “This is just really fabulous news and an opportunity for the community and government to invest in working on the ground and largely employing Indigenous staff.”

Aboriginal #heart #stroke Health : $15 million #HealthBudget17 Investment in #PhysicalActivity and #healthylifestyles to #takethepressuredown

“We walk from the pier to the swimming pool, but everyone walks their own pace and distance.

Before walking, an Aboriginal health worker takes the blood pressure of the walkers to let them know how their general health is.

The group was about “more than just walking”, with general health checks and healthy food offered as part of the weekly meet-up .We have young and old, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and everyone gets on really well.”

Community liaison officer Joe Malone : Run jointly by Heart Foundation Walking and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Community Health Service Northgate QLD , the meetings help keep local residents active.

Read Full story HERE

To find a local walking group, head to the Heart Foundation Walking website or call 1300 362 787

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : ” High blood pressure is a silent killer ” new Heart Foundation guidelines

“Disturbingly, about half of Australian adults are not physically active enough to gain the health benefits of exercise. This includes just under half of young people aged 25 to 34 years old. This puts them at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, some cancers and dementia in later life.

“But even moderate exercise is like a wonder drug. Being active for as little as 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can reduce risk of death from heart attack by a third, as well as help you sleep better, feel better, improve your strength and balance, and maintain your bone density. It also manages your weight, blood pressure and blood cholesterol. So we are delighted by the news of the Prime Minister’s $10 million walking challenge.”

Heart Foundation National CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly see full below

 ” The Stoke Foundation is excited to announce that the Stroke Foundation is partnering with Priceline Pharmacy for the 2017 Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check campaign.

Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check will take place Wednesday 17 May – Wednesday 14 June with a target to deliver 80,000 free health checks at over 320 locations around Australia including Priceline Pharmacy stores, selected shopping centres and Queensland Know your numbers sites.

Find your nearest free health check location HERE or your Aboriginal Community Controlled Health ( ACCHO )

Heart Foundation applauds Budget funding for Healthy Heart package

At a glance

Regular walking or other physical activity reduces:

  • All-cause mortality by 30%
  • Heart disease and stroke by 35%
  • Type 2 diabetes by 42%
  • Colon cancer by 30%
  • Breast cancer by 20%
  • Weight, blood pressure and blood cholesterol

The Heart Foundation welcomes a $10 million commitment in the Federal Budget to get more Australians active by investing in a walking revolution, and $5 million dedicated to helping GPs to encourage patients to lead a healthy lifestyle.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has announced that $10 million over two years will be allocated to the Heart Foundation to lead the Prime Minister’s Walk for Life Challenge, which will support up to 300,000 Australians to adopt the easy way to better health – regular walking – by 2019.

“Physical inactivity takes an immense toll on the Australian community, causing an estimated 14,000 premature deaths a year – similar to that caused by smoking,” said Heart Foundation National CEO, Adjunct Professor John Kelly.

Heart Foundation Walking is Australia’s only national network of free walking groups. It has helped more than 80,000 Australians walk their way to better health since the program began in 1995, and currently has nearly 30,000 active participants. “We need to inspire Australians to be more active, and walking groups are a cheap, fun and easy way for them to get moving,” Professor Kelly said.

The Heart Foundation wants to see everyone ‘Move More and Sit Less’, including school students, sedentary workers and older Australians. “So we welcome the Government’s National Sports Plan, also announced in the Budget, to encourage physical activity at all levels, from community participation to elite sports.

“The Heart Foundation is also pleased to see a renewed commitment of more than $18 million to the National Rheumatic Fever Strategy, a critical program if we are to Close the Gap in health for Indigenous communities,” said Professor Kelly. “And we welcome the listing of the new heart failure medication Entresto on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme, making it affordable for many more Australians, as well as funding for research into preventative care, and the development of a National Sport Plan, with its emphasis on participation.”

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, who experience and die from cardiovascular disease at much higher rates than other Australians. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, when compared with other Australians, are:

  • 1.3 times as likely to have cardiovascular disease (1)
  • three times more likely to have a major coronary event, such as a heart attack (2)
  • more than twice as likely to die in hospital from coronary heart disease (2)
  • 19 times as likely to die from acute rheumatic fever and chronic rheumatic heart Disease (3)
  • more likely to smoke, have high blood pressure, be obese, have diabetes and have end-stage renal disease.(3)

From Heart Foundation website

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @KenWyattMP Press Release : Indigenous health programs boost in the Federal Budget

 ” Budget measures will improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the Government is now investing $3.6 billion over four years from 2017-18 for the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program, representing an increase of $724 million compared to expenditure over the previous four years.

“Continued growth in the Program will improve access to culturally appropriate comprehensive primary health care for Indigenous Australians, as well as address areas of critical need through targeted investments that are expected to accelerate progress in closing the gap in health disparity,”

The Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt pictured above from 2008 Close The Gap launch

“Many of the other mainstream budget health measures will also impact on Indigenous Health,

In particular re-introducing indexation to MBS payments will provide increased Medicare funding to eligible providers including Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs). The unfreezing of indexation will be a staged approach commencing in 1 July 2017 with GP bulk-bulling incentives.”

“I am particularly pleased that 46 of the 200 preferred sites for Health Care Homes are Aboriginal Medical Services, including ACCHSs, although the final number of participating sites will not be known until agreements are reached.”

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHSs)

Download copy of this Release  KEN Wyatt Minister release

The Australian Government has continued its commitment to provide better health services for Indigenous Australians with a funding boost in the Federal Budget.

The Turnbull Government has continued its commitment to provide better health services for Indigenous Australians with a funding boost in the Federal Budget.

“The growth in the Program has allowed us to develop innovative targeted initiatives. For example, an additional investment of approximately $6 million for the extension of the Reducing Rheumatic Heart Fever among Indigenous Children Budget measure will expand the Rheumatic Fever Strategy to include other environmental and health care measures to prevent the incidence of Acute Rheumatic Fever, and improve data and reporting systems.

“The majority of investment in Indigenous health continues to rely on mainstream health expenditure through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS), the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), hospitals and National Partnership Payments of $53 million (2015-16 to 2019-20).”

Minister Wyatt said the Support for Community Pharmacies – Increasing Patient Access to Medication Management Services budget initiative allows pharmacists to offer services during patient home visits – or at an alternative preferred location for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients – to identify medication or compliance problems and to provide education on the correct use of medicines and monitoring devices.

“This measure also releases funding previously held in the Contingency Reserve to continue programs under the Sixth Community Pharmacy Agreement (6CPA), including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Programs.”

Other health initiatives that will impact on better health care for Indigenous people include:

Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) – Improving access
The Government is reducing the cost of medicines by $1.8 billion over five years to make medicines more affordable. Our careful management of PBS spending means that we are able to list new, effective medicines on the PBS when they become available. This includes new listing of ferrous fumerate and ferrous fumerate with folic acid on the PBS which are used to treat iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemias which are prevalent in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Maintaining Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services Pharmaceutical Dispensing
Ensures continued remuneration for pharmacists supplying PBS medicines to individuals through the Remote Area Aboriginal Health Services (RAAHS) program.

“The Federal Budget gives us cause to pause and consider the many opportunities we have to accelerate progress in this space,” Minister Wyatt said.

Delivering Improved Mental Health Services
The Turnbull Government is building on its mental health reforms by delivering another boost of more than $170 million for mental health support, treatment and research that will directly benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

This includes people living in rural and remote regions of Australia will now receive significantly improved access to psychologists, under a new $9.1 million telehealth initiative set to roll-out later this year.

Fighting childhood cancer
The Government is contributing $79 million to cancer research including $10.8 million to fight childhood cancer. This includes $1.4 million for pediatric brain cancer clinical trials and $4.4 million for Cancer Australia.

CanTeen will also receive $5 million to support clinical trials in adolescents and young adults as one of the first allocations from our landmark $20 billion Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Better support for children living with diabetes
The Government will provide $54.0 million over five years from 2016 17 to provide free access to continuous glucose monitoring devices for children and young adults under 21 years of age who face extra challenges managing their type 1 diabetes. Continuous glucose monitoring devices assist in managing type 1 diabetes by automatically checking an individual’s blood sugar levels and reducing the need for finger prick tests.

The Government will simplify and reduce patient contribution arrangements from 1 July 2017 for the Insulin Pump Program (the Program), which provides subsidised access to insulin pumps for children with type 1 diabetes. This will ensure children with type 1 diabetes will have more affordable access to insulin pumps.

NACCHO Aboriginal #HealthBudget17 : Indigenous health funding not enough says #ClosetheGap co-chairs

“The Close the Gap Campaign priorities are not new. Governments know these priorities well. Yet the health gap remains a national tragedy,”

Indigenous people have a life expectancy of at least 10 years less than their non-Indigenous peers.

A nation as wealthy as ours should fund the critical health care of less than 3 per cent of its entire population,

The Commonwealth must work in full partnership with the state and territory governments to address all Aboriginal health needs.We especially need to agree on a national strategy to address the social and cultural determinants of health.

Every child under four must have ready access to early childhood education; every family should be able to live in decent social housing which is not over-crowded; and every working age person should be able to be gainfully employed.

These are immediate priorities because the social determinants of health account for more than 30% of the burden of disease that affects our people.

There is no other sector of Australian society that would tolerate the conditions our people live in and the lack of opportunity we have to improve these conditions.”

Pat Turner (pictured above), Co-Chair of the Close the Gap Campaign and CEO of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.Pictured above at Redfern Statement launch

Indigenous health representatives met in Canberra this week to consider the Federal Government’s 2017 budget, with Close the Gap Campaign Co-Chair Dr Jackie Huggins reflecting disappointment in the figures.

“More investment is needed to close the health gap experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Funding cuts will not close this gap,” Dr Huggins said.

“We need to train and support more Indigenous health practitioners, doctors and nurses; and it is essential that we put the social determinants of health at the centre of this debate.”

Dr Huggins, who is also Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, said she would like to see disability, incarceration and justice measurements added to the Close the Gap targets.

The Close the Gap Campaign’s 2017 Budget Position paper (pdf) lists eight priorities that will help close the gap in health inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Including Recommendation 4

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) are supported to provide high-quality, comprehensive and accountable services that are locally responsive to identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs by:

a. Providing sufficient funding to identify and fill the primary health care service gaps; and

b. Systematic assessment of health outcomes/needs, workforce capability and service capacity undertaken to inform the development of the core services model, future workforce requirements and investment and capacity building priorities

c. Ensure Primary Health Networks are directed to support and partner with ACCHS as the preferred providers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services.

The ACCHS sector provides inherent advantages for closing the gap. Firstly, its service model is the provision of comprehensive primary health care. This model of care is needed because of the higher levels and earlier age onset of illness, the much greater levels of comorbidity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – and the need to address the fundamental determinants of health if the gap is to be closed. ACCHS were established because of the inability of mainstream services to deliver for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and have a critical role to play in closing the Gap.

The ACCHS sector is a major employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all levels. In many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the ACCHS operates as the primary employer. These are real and essential, skilled jobs. A long-term plan for building the capabilities of ACCHS is overdue.

The Campaign calls on Government to provide greater surety of funding to enable ACCHS to enhance their capacity to undertake long-term service and workforce planning – particularly in relation to primary health care service gaps. We know that sustainable, long-term services deliver the best health outcomes.

We further propose that ACCHS be treated as preferred providers for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people unless it can be shown that alternative arrangements can produce better outcomes in terms of quality of care and access to services. We believe the evidence shows this and we support government using an objective, informed evidence base to guide future decisions.

Press release part 2

The Indigenous Health budget for the next financial year is $881 million, compared to $798 million allocated this financial year. The $83 million increase is primarily attributed to population increase and indexation.

Dr Huggins and Ms Turner said the Government’s decision to restore indexation of the Medicare Benefits Scheme is a good outcome. They said this was a priority for the Close the Gap Campaign after Parliament introduced the freeze on Medicare benefits in 2013-14.

The Government had previously announced a $40 million investment over four years to strengthen the evaluation of Indigenous Affairs programs. Improved reporting, monitoring and evaluation of contracts, programs and outcomes is expected to underpin this.

The Federal Health Minister, Greg Hunt, has released statements about the Medicare Guarantee Fund and other budget commitments on health.

The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has released statements about investment in Indigenous research and evaluation and the Indigenous business sector strategy.

Photo: Close the Gap Campaign Co-Chair Pat Turner.

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Budget2017 : Indigenous leaders focus on health funding in May 2017 budget

The Close the Gap campaign priorities are not new. Governments know these priorities well. Yet the health gap remains a national tragedy. Indigenous people have a life expectancy of at least 10 years less than their non-Indigenous peers.

A nation as wealthy as ours should fund the critical health care of less than 3 per cent of its entire population. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health is a national priority, and we are repeatedly told it has bi-partisan support.

We need to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and involve them in developing solutions. We need to employ Indigenous people to deliver services in their own communities.”

Patricia Turner CEO of National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation pictured above at last years Redfern Statement with Dr Jackie Huggins Co-Chair of the Close the Gap Campaign

Download the Campaign’s 2017 Budget Position paper list of nine priorities

2017 CTG Campaign Federal Budget Position Paper

The Close the Gap campaign has a close eye on the Federal Government’s commitment to Indigenous health in its May 2017 budget.

The Campaign’s 2017 Budget Position paper lists nine priorities that will help close the gap in health inequality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

The Close the Gap campaign urged the Federal Government to commit to adequately funding the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 and its subsequent Implementation Plan.

“The Implementation Plan has targeted activities that require adequate resourcing,” said Dr Jackie Huggins, Co-Chair of the Close the Gap Campaign and Co-Chair for the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples.

Example Recommendation 4

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) are supported to provide high-quality, comprehensive and accountable services that are locally responsive to identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health needs by:

a. Providing sufficient funding to identify and fill the primary health care service gaps; and

b. Systematic assessment of health outcomes/needs, workforce capability and service capacity undertaken to inform the development of the core services model, future workforce requirements and investment and capacity building priorities

c. Ensure Primary Health Networks are directed to support and partner with ACCHS as the preferred providers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health services.

The ACCHS sector provides inherent advantages for closing the gap. Firstly, its service model is the provision of comprehensive primary health care.

This model of care is needed because of the higher levels and earlier age onset of illness, the much greater levels of comorbidity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – and the need to address the fundamental determinants of health if the gap is to be closed.

ACCHS were established because of the inability of mainstream services to deliver for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and have a critical role to play in closing the Gap.

The ACCHS sector is a major employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all levels. In many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the ACCHS operates as the primary employer. These are real and essential, skilled jobs. A long-term plan for building the capabilities of ACCHS is overdue.

The Campaign calls on Government to provide greater surety of funding to enable ACCHS to enhance their capacity to undertake long-term service and workforce planning – particularly in relation to primary health care service gaps. We know that sustainable, long-term services deliver the best health outcomes.

We further propose that ACCHS be treated as preferred providers for health services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people unless it can be shown that alternative arrangements can produce better outcomes in terms of quality of care and access to services. We believe the evidence shows this and we support government using an objective, informed evidence base to guide future decisions

Press Release Cont:

Ms Donna Murray, CEO of Indigenous Allied Health Australia, urged the Government to invest for the long-term by supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce.

“Dedicated funding for allied health, medicine, nursing, midwifery and health workers as well as for the national Indigenous organisations who are involved in workforce development will contribute significantly to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes for our people and communities.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are 3 per cent of our population but less than 1 per cent of our health workforce,” Ms Murray said.

The Close the Gap campaign called on the Government to ensure that funding for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) recognises the estimated 45 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

“The NDIS and the Indigenous Advancement Strategy should prioritise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability,” said Damian Griffis, CEO of the First Peoples Disability Network.

The Close the Gap campaign remains optimistic that health equality is possible if governments commit to long-term investment and to  working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

7 BETTER WAYS TO SPEND $7 BILLION – INDIGENOUS HEALTH

The Australian Healthcare Reform Alliance (AHCRA) today called on the Government to re-direct funding in the upcoming Budget from the $7 billion private health insurance (PHI) rebate to improve the health and well-being of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

AHCRA is a coalition of peak health organisations working together to create a better and fairer health system for Australia’s future.

“Indigenous health is the number one health issue facing Australia. It is unacceptable that in Australia today Indigenous people have significantly poorer health and a much lower life expectancy than the non-Indigenous population,” Jennifer Doggett, ACHRA Chair, said today.

“It is also unacceptable that despite their much greater health need, Indigenous Australians receive much less benefit from the $7b PHI rebate than non-Indigenous Australians (due to their much lower levels of PHI membership).

“Re-directing funding from the PHI rebate to Indigenous health services would help address this imbalance in funding. This should be used to support a comprehensive population-wide approach that incorporates the social determinants of health and empowers people to take control of their own lives and improve their health through culturally appropriate mechanisms.

“At the centre of efforts to close the health and life expectancy gap are community- controlled health services which provide person-centred and to culturally relevant care, including both a biomedical and preventative health focus. These services, and their representative body NACCHO, require more consistent and assured long-term funding to enable effective planning and capacity development that will deliver the best possible outcomes.

“Therefore, AHCRA supports the allocation of funding from the PHI rebate to achieve the following:

Allocate secure long-term funding to progress the strategies and actions identified in the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan Implementation Plan.

Provide secure, long-term funding for the Rural Health Outreach Fund and Medical Outreach Indigenous Chronic Disease Program.

Allocate sufficient and secure long-term funding to the Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Sector to support the sector’s continued provision of Indigenous-led, culturally sensitive healthcare.

Build and support the capacity of Indigenous health leaders by committing secure long-term funding to the Indigenous National Health Leadership Forum.

 Reinstate funding for a clearinghouse modelled on the previous Closing the Gap clearinghouse, as recommended in the latest draft of the Fifth National Mental Health Plan.

“The health and well-being of Indigenous Australians should be a higher priority for funding than PHI industry subsidies. AHCRA calls on the Federal Government to re-direct funding from the $7b rebate in order to close the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” Ms Doggett said.

 

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health : Dr Naomi Mayers OAM Leader in Aboriginal health receives honorary degree

The University of Sydney has conferred a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) upon Naomi Mayers OAM, for her work delivering and transforming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health care

“We’ve come a long way since the Aboriginal Medical Service first opened its doors, thanks to the efforts of so many people,

Of course there remains much work to be done and I urge the younger generations to continue fighting to close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes.”

Dr Naomi Mayers in 1972 one of the founders of Aboriginal Medical Service in Redferna , a founding member of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW and the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (now NACCHO )

“Australia owes a debt of gratitude to Dr Mayers, for her impressive contribution towards improving health care policy, system delivery and access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

She dedicated her working life to achieving health equity, and the empowerment of her community, in Redfern and beyond.”

Congratulating Dr Mayers, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Strategy and Services) Professor Shane Houston said her work had made a tangible difference to countless people.

An advocate, leader and reformer, Dr Mayers has been at the forefront of change in health service provision to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities at local, state and national levels for over 40 years.

One of the founders of the first Aboriginal community-controlled health service in Australia in early 1972, the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern, Dr Mayers worked as its Administrator, Company Secretary and finally Chief Executive Officer until her recent retirement.

Over 40 years, she guided its transformation from a small shop-front into a nationwide network of services.

Dr Naomi Mayers at the University of Sydney.

A Yorta Yorta/Wiradjuri woman, Dr Mayers was also a founding member of The Sapphires, the all-Aboriginal music group from country Victoria that formed the basis of the popular 2012 film of the same name.

Laurel Robinson, Beverly Briggs, Naomi Mayers and Lois Peeler are the women behind The Sapphires

Presented with the honour during a graduation ceremony at the University’s Great Hall, Dr Mayers acknowledged the importance of collaboration and persistence in achieving change.

At the age of 18, Dr Mayers began her work in health as a nurse, at the Royal Women’s Hospital and Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, the Home Hill Hospital in Queensland and St Andrews Hospital in East Melbourne. She was also a board member of the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

She was a founding member of the Aboriginal Health and Medical Research Council of NSW and the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (NAIHO, now the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation); founding president of the Federation for Aboriginal Women; and a member of the first Australian and Torres Strait Islander Commission Regional Council (Metropolitan Sydney).

Dr Naomi Mayers.

She was a witness during the inquiries of the 1977 House of Representatives Standing Committee on Aboriginal Health, and in 1981 she was appointed as a consultant by the Royal Australian College of Ophthalmologists.

Dr Mayers was also Chair of the National Aboriginal Health Strategy Working Party, which authored a pivotal report that introduced innovative Aboriginal health sector reforms which helped shape the 150 Aboriginal Medical Services across Australia today.

She was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in 1984 in recognition of her services to the community and holds a doctorate in Aboriginal Affairs from Tranby Aboriginal College in Sydney.

NACCHO Aboriginal Youth and Mental Health : Download Report from @MissionAust and @blackdoginst

 ” It is critical that responses to support a young person’s mental health be culturally sensitive and gender sensitive and that they address the structural issues that contribute to higher levels of psychological distress for young females and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people.

For example, we know that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to be adversely affected by racism, disconnection from culture, and the long history of dispossession. All of these factors contribute to poor mental health, substance misuse and higher suicide rates.

As a matter of priority, suicide prevention programs that are tailored to the needs of the whole community and focussed on prevention should be available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. All programs should be offered in close proximity to community and should be age appropriate as well as culturally sensitive.”

Download a copy of the Five-Year Youth Mental Health Report

 youth-mental-health-report

NACCHO Background References (1-4)

Ref 1:  Read / research the 250 NACCHO Articles

about Aboriginal Mental Health published in past 5 years

about suicide prevention in the past 5 years

Ref 2 :Download the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan at the link below:

 “The release of the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan is another important opportunity to support reform, and it’s now up to the mental health sector including consumers and carers, to help develop a plan that will benefit all.”

A successful plan should help overcome the lack of coordination and the fragmentation between layers of government that have held back our efforts to date.”

NACCHO and Mental Health Australia CEO Frank Quinlan have welcomed the release of the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan and is encouraging all ACCHO stakeholders to engage with the plan during the upcoming consultation period.

Download the Draft Fifth National Mental Health Plan at the link below:

PDF Copy fifth-national-mental-health-plan

You can download a copy of the draft plan;or see extracts below

Fifth National Mental Health Plan – PDF 646 KB
Fifth National Mental Health Plan – Word 537 KB

Ref 3: NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke see previous press Release

“Clearly Australia’s mental health system is failing Aboriginal people, with Aboriginal communities devastated by high rates of suicide and poorer mental health outcomes. 

Poor mental health in Aboriginal communities often stems from historic dispossession, racism and a poor sense of connection to self and community. It is compounded by people’s lack of access to meaningful and ongoing education and employment. Drug and alcohol related conditions are also commonly identified in persons with poor mental health.

While there was no quick fix for the crisis, an integrated strategy led by Aboriginal community controlled health services is a good starting point.

The National Mental Health Commission Review recommended the establishment of mental health and social and emotional wellbeing teams in Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services, linked to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander specialist mental health services.

None of these can be fixed overnight but we can’t ignore the problems. We are on the brink of losing another generation of Aboriginal people to suicide, poor health and substance abuse.”

What we do know is the solution must be driven by Aboriginal leaders and communities – a model that is reaping great rewards in the Aboriginal Community Controlled health sector.

It must be a community based approach, backed up by governments of all levels.”

NACCHO Chairperson, Matthew Cooke

Ref 4 : Extra info provided by Tom Calma

Prof Pat Dudgeon and Tom Calma chair the ATSI Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Advisory Group to the Commonwealth and Pat Chairs NATSIMHL, the group who created the Gayaa Dhuwi.

Bottom line is that the community should feel confident that all the major initiatives in mental health and suicide prevention are being lead by our people and more can be found at http://natsilmh.org.au

and http://www.psychology.org.au/reconciliation/whats_new/

and http://www.atsispep.sis.uwa.edu.au

Action urgently needed to stem rising youth mental illness

Last week Mission Australia released its joint Five-Year Youth Mental Health Report with Black Dog Institute, sharing the insights gathered about the mental health of Australia’s young people during the years 2012 to 2016.

Learning what young people think is so important to the work we do at Mission Australia. By checking in with them we discover their thoughts about their lives and their futures, and what concerns them most.

The Five Year Mental Health Youth Report presents the findings of the past five years on the rates of psychological distress experienced by young Australians, aged 15-19.

  • Almost one in four young people met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness – a significant increase over the past five years (rising from 18.7% in 2012 to 22.8% in 2016).
  • Across the five years, females were twice as likely as males to meet the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness. The increase has been much more marked among females (from 22.5% in 2012 to 28.6% in 2016, compared to a rise from 12.7% to 14.1% for males).
  • Young people with a probable serious mental illness reported they would go to friends, parents and the internet as their top three sources of help. This is compared to friends, parents and relatives/family friends for those without a probable serious mental illness.
  • In 2016, over three in ten (31.6%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents met the criteria for probable serious mental illness, compared to 22.2% for non-Indigenous youth.

In light of these findings, Catherine Yeomans, Mission Australia’s CEO said: “Adolescence comes with its own set of challenges for young people. But we are talking about an alarming number of young people facing serious mental illness; often in silence and without accessing the help they need.

The effects of mental illness at such a young age can be debilitating and incredibly harmful to an individual’s quality of life, academic achievement, and social participation both in the short term and long term.

Ms Yeomans said she was concerned that the mental health of the younger generation may continue to deteriorate without extra support and resources, including investment in more universal, evidence-based mental health programs in schools and greater community acceptance.

Given these concerning findings, I urge governments to consider how they can make a major investment in supporting youth mental health to reduce these alarming figures, Ms Yeomans said.

“We need to ensure young people have the resources they need to manage mental health difficulties, whether it is for themselves or for their peers. Parents, schools and community all play a vital role and we must fully equip them with the knowledge and skills to provide effective support to young people.”

The top issues of concern for those with a probable serious mental illness were: coping with stress; school and study problems; and depression. There was also a notably high level of concern about other issues including family conflict, suicide and bullying/emotional abuse.

The report’s finding that young people with mental illness are turning to the internet as a source of help with important issues also points to prevailing stigma, according to Black Dog Institute Director, Professor Helen Christensen.

“This report shows that young people who need help are seeking it reluctantly, with a fear of being judged continuing to inhibit help-seeking,” said Professor Christensen.

“Yet evidence-based prevention and early intervention programs are vital in reducing the risk of an adolescent developing a serious and debilitating mental illness in their lifetime. We need to take urgent action to turn this rising tide of mental illness.

“We know that young people are turning to the internet for answers and our research at Black Dog Institute clearly indicates that self-guided, online psychological therapy can be effective in reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.

“While technology can be a lifeline, e-mental health interventions must be evidence-based and tailored to support young people’s individual needs. More investment is needed to drive a proactive and united approach to delivering new mental health programs which resonate with young people, and to better integrate these initiatives across schools and the health system to help young people on a path to a mentally healthier future.”

Armed with this information we are able to advocate on their behalf for the support services they need, and for the broader policy changes.

Download the NACCHO Mental Health Help APP to find your nearest ACCHO

 The Five-Year Youth Mental Health Report shows some alarming results with almost one in four young people meeting the criteria for a probable serious mental illness (PSMI). That figure has gone up from 18.7 per cent in 2012 to 22.8 per cent in 2016.

Girls were twice as likely as boys to meet the criteria for having a PSMI, and this figure rose from 22.5% in 2012 to 28.6% in 2016, compared to a rise from 12.7% to 14.1% for boys.

An even higher number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents met the criteria for having a probable serious mental illness (PSMI ) at 31%.

These results make it clear that mental illness is one of the most pressing issues in our communities, especially for young people, and one that has to be tackled by the governments, health services, schools and families.

Three quarters of all lifetime mental health disorders emerge by the age of 24, but access to mental health services for this age group is among the poorest, with the biggest barriers being community awareness, access and acceptability of services.

What we need is greater investment in mental health services that are tailored to the concerns and help seeking strategies of young people and are part of a holistic wrap around approach to their diverse needs.

For young women, we know that a large proportion (64%) were extremely or very concerned about body image compared to a far smaller number of males (34.8%).

Such a finding suggests that social pressures such as discrimination based on ideals of appearance may need to be addressed to tackle this gender disparity in the levels of probable serious mental illness among girls.

And although girls are more likely to be affected negatively by body image issues, they are more likely to seek help when they need it than boys.

Clearly then, and for a variety of reasons, an awareness of gendered differences is a crucial component in the management of mental health issues.

We need to ensure that all young people, whether they live in urban areas or regional, have the resources they need to manage mental health difficulties, whether it is for themselves or for their peers. Parents, schools and community all play a vital role and we must fully equip them with the evidence-based knowledge and skills to provide effective support to young people.