NACCHO Aboriginal Health #FirstPeoples2019 News : Government is making life worse for #Indigenous people, argues Professor @marcialangton but progress is possible. #UluruStatementFromtheHeart

“Give the money to the Indigenous sector. Give the power to the Indigenous sector,

Indigenous people have to set their own priorities. You can’t have administration of very complex matters from the Canberra bubble. It’s not working and lives are being lost.

We must push for policies that give formal powers to the Indigenous sector and remove incompetent, bureaucratic bungling.

Indigenous people have to set their own priorities.

Argued Professor Marcia Langton in a speech criticising many aspects of the governance of Indigenous affairs. Government is making life worse for Indigenous people, said Marcia but progress is possible.

Originally published in The Mandarin 

Indigenous communities want greater freedom to decide their own priorities and choose how to spend government money.

That was one of the clear messages of last week’s ‘Reimagining public administration: First Peoples, governance and new paradigms’ conference in Melbourne, hosted by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.

Download the Conference Program HERE 

Conference booklet v10

WATCH SPEECH HERE

Langton and many others spoke of the government’s failure to listen to Indigenous communities about their needs, and the damage that caused.

“Most people who are informed about the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people agree that many of the present policy settings are contributing to a tragic and avoidable decline in their wellbeing.

“Please do not feel personally offended by what I have to say to you today,” she told the audience, many of whom work in the Indigenous affairs bureaucracy.

“But it must be said that we must all take responsibility and be courageous enough to take action, to put an end to the policies and programs that disempower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, not just causing a decline in their living standards, but accelerating them into permanent poverty.

“Especially the vulnerable. The children and youth are victims of a failed view of the Indigenous world and Indigenous people. This is a dystopian nightmare. We must imagine a future in which Indigenous people thrive and we must do whatever it takes to reach that future. This is urgent.”

Langton and others lamented that despite the huge amount of work that went into it and broad Indigenous stakeholder support, the Uluru Statement From the Heart has been largely dismissed or ignored by the government.

Read final report HERE 

“The Uluru Statement From the Heart encapsulates all of these policy aspirations of the Indigenous world, and I fail to see how it is not being fully supported across the political and administrative spectrum,” she said.

“We need to be empowered to lift ourselves out of the state-imposed tangle of policies, programs and bureaucracy that excludes us and removes our agency. Only we can overcome, but you can help.”

Economic inclusion

While many Indigenous Australians in cities and regional areas were doing well, remote communities were the “forgotten people”, in many cases making little progress in recent years, Langton argues.

Economic inclusion is one of the key ways of improving Indigenous lives, and there are some glimmers of hope in policy.

“Throughout the world there’s a broad consensus that the only sustainable exit from poverty is economic progress with development that is inclusive of the most disadvantaged,” Langton argues.

“Fortunately, government and private sector procurement policies have developed, and these are including Indigenous businesses and building them into supply chains. This is the most important development in policy in years.

“The only sustainable exit from poverty is economic progress with development that is inclusive of the most disadvantaged.”

“But employment and training strategies are equally important. There will be little progress in achieving Indigenous parity if we do not address weaknesses in the approaches adopted on employment and training by successive governments.”

Government should enable Indigenous people to build better lives, rather than telling them how to, she says.

“Indigenous people must therefore carry the responsibility for driving this. It is they who must build human capital, assets and wealth, and do what’s needed to transition out of poverty, built on a strong educational foundation.

“This means being prepared to take risks, and learning the lessons of the past, including an over-dependence on government to solve problems, and less than fully productive investments of Indigenous time and money.

“But it also means new attitudes and ways of operating by governments, the business sector and the community more generally. The transformation will take time — to collect the data, to inform and involve those affected, and to embed new thinking and practice, including learning from those both here and overseas.”

She was especially critical of the Community Development Program, a work for the dole initiative in remote Indigenous communities, which is designed with a disconnect between pay and hours worked.

“We must have push-policies based on effective measures for economic inclusion. This means dismantling CDP, the punitive development project, so-called, and paying real wages for real work.”

Frustration with co-design

Co-design came up throughout the conference, frequently as a subject of frustration.

One of the key gripes is that government often doesn’t meet communities on a level playing field, using the cover of ‘co-design’ to try to get the rubber stamp for decisions already taken — a common complaint.

Lil Anderson, acting chief executive at New Zealand’s Te Arawhiti (Office for Maori-Crown Relations), noted many in government view ‘partnership’ with community as extending little beyond contracts for services.

But for many at the conference, even true co-design was still an unacceptable level of government intrusion in community affairs.

“Co-design by very definition means that there’s two people at the table.”

Karen Diver, previously special assistant for Native American affairs to President Obama and chair of a tribal government in Minnesota, argued co-design means communities are not fully in control of their own affairs.

“Co-design by very definition means that there’s two people at the table. And if I have to look at majority government, really none of their ideas have worked for 300 years. That was a part of our oppression,” she argues.

National and state governments often have a poor understanding of the needs and desires of Indigenous communities, so retaining control only makes things worse.

Diver used the example of creating a policy to reduce school delinquency.

“Give us the resources we need so we can singularly design what we need to do within our community. It might not be a school resource officer, it might not be law enforcement — it might be a bunch of grandmas, it might be peer support, it might be extra tutoring … but that also means we have the flexibility to meet each child where they’re at.

“The thing is that in small communities … we know who the dads are, the mums, the grandmas, we know what that family looks like and what sort of supports are there. It might not even be anything the child is doing, they might just be tired, because something’s going on at home. But this [community-run] department over here knows that too, because we also run our social services.”

Progress is possible

The experience of Aotearoa New Zealand shows improvement is possible, Langton believes.

In recent years, many Maori groups have been given reparations by the national government. Maori and the NZ government are only a few years away from completing all settlements for historical breaches of the 1841 Treaty of Waitangi. The settlements are a tiny fraction of what was lost, and many problems persist, but there is a feeling NZ is far ahead of Australia.

“Look across the ditch at the Maori progress, the Treaty of Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal, the justice reinvestment, the economic development,” she says.

“It’s all possible, and I don’t see why we can’t have that here.”

Langton noted Victoria and the Northern Territory are pursuing treaties.

“But the Commonwealth government cannot even contemplate treaties.”

READ MORE: Marcia Langton: the world is run by those who show up

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #RefreshTheCTGRefresh News : Dr @mperkinsnsw #ClosingtheGap failures are firmly rooted in racism and Nicholas Biddle From @ANU_CAEPR 4 lessons from 11 years of #ClosingtheGap reports

 

1. Some targets are easier than others

2. The life-expectancy measure is unpredictable

3. On-track one year, off-track the next

4. Indigenous Australians in the city and country have different needs

5.Closing the Gap Failures are firmly rooted in racism

” Scott Morrison last week became the fifth prime minister to deliver a Closing the Gap report to parliament – the 11th since the strategy began in 2008. Closing the Gap has aimed to reduce disadvantage among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with particular respect to life expectancy, child mortality, access to early childhood education, educational achievement and employment outcomes.

Almost every time a prime minister delivers the report, he or she states the need to move on from a deficits approach.

Which is exactly what Morrison did this time. But he also did something different. Four of the seven targets set in 2008 were due to expire in 2018.

So last year, the government developed the Closing the Gap Refresh – where targets would be updated in partnership with Indigenous people.

Nicholas Biddle ANU : Four lessons from 11 years of Closing the Gap reports : See in full Part 1 Below 

Read NACCHO Closing the Gap response and download the report

” Once again, minimal progress has been made towards closing the gap on Indigenous disadvantage.

Racism has been mentioned as an issue, but exactly how does racism make a contribution to this “unforgivable” state of affairs ?.

The answer is in the criminal justice system. Studies have shown mass incarceration has a profoundly negative effect on the health, education, and employment of families and communities-and Indigenous Australians are the most incarcerated group on Earth.

The US, the mother of all jailers imprisoned 655 people per 100,000 in 2018. Australia imprisoned 164 non Indigenous people and 2481 Indigenous people per 100,000. Western Australian imprisoned 3663 Aboriginal people per 100,000.

In 1991, when the report on Aboriginal Deaths in Custody was handed down, 14% of all prisoners were First Nations people.  By last year, the figure was 28%. ”

Lesson 5 Dr Meg Perkins is a registered psychologist, researcher and writer : See Part 2 Below

First Published in The Conversation 

The current report and the work leading up to it has led to new targets, such as a “significant and sustained progress to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care” and old targets framed differently.

For example, the headline new outcome for families, children and youth is that “Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years”. This is on top of more specific targets such as having 95% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander four-years-olds enrolled in early childhood education by 2025 – which this year is on track.


Read more: Closing the Gap is failing and needs a radical overhaul


Looking back on the past 11 years, there are several things we’ve learned. This includes those targets that seem easiest to meet, as well changes in the demographics of the population that complicate the measuring of the targets. Below are three lessons from the last decade of the policy.

https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/74BbT/1/

1. Some targets are easier than others

The targets where there has been some success tend to be those where government has more direct control. Consider the Year 12 attainment compared to the employment targets. To increase the proportion of Indigenous Australians completing year 12, the Commonwealth government can change the income support system to create incentives to not leave school, while state and territory governments can adjust the school leaving age.

That is not to downplay the efforts of parents, teachers, community leaders, and the students themselves. But, there are some direct policy levers.

To improve employment outcomes, on the other hand, discrimination among employers needs to be reduced, human capital levels increased, jobs need to be in areas where Indigenous people live and to match the skills and experiences of the Indigenous population. These are solvable policy problems with the right settings and community engagement. But, they are substantially more complex.


Read more: Three reasons why the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians aren’t closing


2. The life-expectancy measure is unpredictable

The main target has always been related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy. The 2019 report shows the target of closing the gap by 2031 is not on track.

Unfortunately, the life expectancy target is one of the more difficult to measure, as it uses multiple datasets that are potentially affected by different ways Indigenous people are counted in the census and changing levels of identification. The most recent estimates, based on data for 2015-17, are that life expectancy at birth is 71.6 years for Indigenous males and 75.6 years for Indigenous females.

While the gaps with the non-Indigenous population of 8.6 years and 7.8 years respectively are smaller than they were in 2010-12 (the previous estimates) the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and most demographers suggest extreme caution around the interpretation of this change. The ABS writes:

While the estimates in this release show a small improvement in life expectancy estimates and a reduction in the gap between 2010-2012 and 2015-2017, this improvement should be interpreted with considerable caution as the population composition has changed during this period.

More people have been identifying as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander over recent years. What’s more, the newly identified Indigenous people tend to have better outcomes on average (across health, education, and labour market outcomes) than those who were identified previously. This biases our estimates, making it appear there is more rapid progress than there might otherwise be.


Read more: Three charts on: the changing status of Indigenous Australians


The Closing the Gap framework was implicitly designed around improving the circumstances of the 2008 Indigenous population relative to the 2008 non-Indigenous population. However, both populations have changed substantially over the intervening years. There has been a growth of the non-Indigenous population due to international migration. It is hard to measure and track differences in changing populations.

3. On-track one year, off-track the next

There is also the yearly reporting cycle. The target of child mortality, for instance, no longer appears to be on track. This is despite it being on track in previous years. Yearly fluctuations make it hard to gauge the effectiveness of long-term policy settings.

For other indicators, such as employment, the data is available far less frequently than it could be, and we are less able to judge the effect of individual policies and interventions. Having said that, in my view, the sophistication and nuance with which data in the Closing the Gap reports has been presented has improved considerably.

It seems most policies prioritise Indigenous Australians living in remote areas than those in the city. David Clode/Unsplash

4. Indigenous Australians in the city and country have different needs

This isn’t always reflected in policy settings. The current report shows many outcomes are worse in remote compared to non-remote Australia. It also makes the point (though less frequently), that the vast majority of Indigenous Australians live in regional areas and major cities. This creates a tension between relative and absolute need. Unfortunately, the policy responses of government often don’t get that balance right.

Take the signature policy proposal announced with the current report – a suspension or cancelling of HECS debt for teachers who work in remote schools. What the policy ignores is that the vast majority of Indigenous students live outside remote Australia, that outcomes for Indigenous students in non-remote areas are well behind those of non-Indigenous students, and that the schools Indigenous students attend in non-remote areas tend to be very different from those of non-Indigenous students.


Read more: Infographic: Are we making progress on Indigenous education?


Attracting and keeping more high quality teachers in remote areas is a worthwhile policy aim. Alone, it is not sufficient.

The current report and speech by the prime minister states that “genuine partnerships are required to drive sustainable, systemic change” and that the government needs “to support initiatives led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to address the priorities identified by those communities”.

These are admirable goals. But, they require significant resources, a genuine engagement with the evidence (even if it isn’t positive), taking the Uluru Statement from the Heart seriously, and real ceding of control to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

5.Closing the Gap Failures are firmly rooted in racism

Some people think Aboriginal people must be uniquely anti-social and/or make very bad choices, but research tells us the majority of people in prison are suffering from severe cognitive impairments and/or mental health issues such as post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression.

Why are we punishing people with disabilities for behaviour that may not be intentional ?.

When we look at children in school, we find three times as many Aboriginal children are suspended from school than non-Aboriginal children. Some of the special purpose schools in NSW are filled with Aboriginal children only.

Many youth detention centres in the country have 100 per cent Aboriginal inmates. Why are so many Aboriginal children being suspended from school and set on the road to crime and punishment, and what happens to white Australian children who are not able to behave appropriately in the classroom ?.

It seems mainstream Australian children are referred to health professionals when they have difficulties at school. They are seen as suffering from learning disabilities, autism, or ADHD. Speech therapists and other allied health professionals work to help them catch up with peers and stay in school.

Due to intergenerational disadvantage, Indigenous people often don’t have the resources to find a therapist to assist their child. People born before 1972 were not guaranteed a place in school, and so grand parents may not have had much education.

Parents may have left school in Year 8 or 9 and are not familiar with developmental norms or disabilities. If they know that their child is falling behind at school, they often do not have the money to pay for expensive psychological assessments, which cannot be done in Medicare. Without an assessment, and a diagnosis , the school cannot make allowances for a child with brain-based disabilities.

The racist policies of the past have left many Aboriginal people disadvantaged when it comes to dealing with the education system. If their child is having difficulties, suspensions are often the consequence. Once suspended and out on the street, racism sets in again.

Aboriginal children are searched and arrested more often. We will never close the disadvantage gap until we can offer support to the children of young people. We need to raise the age criminal responsibility from 10 to 15 years, and spend money on supporting children, not punishing them.

Dr Meg Perkins

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health @RecAustralia and #Racism : New Australian #ReconciliationBarometer Report shows some increased support but 33% of our mob have still experienced at least one form of verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months

Significantly, almost all Australians (95%) believe that ‘it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them’ and 80% believe it is important to ‘undertake formal truth telling processes’, with 86% believing it is important to learn about past issues.

But disturbingly the barometer found that 33% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced at least one form of verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months.”

Reconciliation CEO, Karen Mundine launching today The 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, a national research study conducted every two years to measure and compare attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation:

Download the full Report HERE

Reconcilation Aust 158 pages Barometer -full-report-2018

Download the brochure HERE

ra_2019-barometer-brochure_web.single.page_

Download the 2018 Workplace RAP Barometer 

WorkPlace RAP Barometer -2018_-final-report

Read over 110 Aboriginal Health and Racism articles published by NACCHO in the last 7 years 

Australians’ support for reconciliation and for a greater Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander say in their own affairs continues to strengthen according to the latest national survey conducted by Reconciliation Australia.

The 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, a national research study conducted every two years to measure and compare attitudes and perceptions towards reconciliation, has found that an overwhelming number of Australians (90%) believe in the central tenet of reconciliation – that the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important.

The 2018 Barometer surveyed a national sample of 497 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and 1995 Australians in the general community across all states and territories.

Reconciliation CEO, Karen Mundine, said that this latest Barometer once again showed a steady strengthening of the indicators for reconciliation and improved relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

“Among these indicators is the encouraging fact that 90% of Australians believe in the central tenet of our reconciliation efforts, that the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is important, and that 79% agree that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are important to Australia’s national identity,” said Ms Mundine.

“Significantly, almost all Australians (95%) believe that ‘it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them’ and 80% believe it is important to ‘undertake formal truth telling processes’, with 86% believing it is important to learn about past issues.

“More Australians than ever before feel a sense of pride for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; this has risen to 62% from 50% in 2008 when the first barometer was conducted,” she said.

Conducted by Reconciliation Australia the Australian Reconciliation Barometer is the only survey undertaken in Australia which measures the progress of reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians.

Ms Mundine said she was heartened by the 2018 results which indicated that the work of Reconciliation Australia and other organisations which promoted reconciliation, the richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and the need to truthfully present Australia’s history, was having a positive impact.

“In welcoming these latest results, I must acknowledge the hard work undertaken by so many Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people to share the incredible beauty and complexity of our cultures across this continent.”

Ms Mundine said that while it was encouraging to see support for reconciliation grow again in the past two years, “there was still plenty of room for improvement”.

“Disturbingly the barometer found that 33% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced at least one form of verbal racial abuse in the last 6 months.”

Ms Mundine said that there were a number of actions that should be taken to further improve the situation for Australia’s First Nations and take the next steps towards a reconciled nation.

These include:

  • Developing a deeper reconciliation process through truth, justice and healing, including supporting a process of truth telling, the establishment of a national healing centre, formal hearings to capture stories and bear witness, reform to the school curriculum, and exploration of archives and other records to map massacre sites and understand the magnitude of the many past wrongs;
  • Support for addressing unresolved issues of national reconciliation including through legislation setting out the timeframe and process for advancing the issues proposed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart;
  • Supporting the national representative body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples – and these efforts must be underpinned by the principles of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, particularly the right to self-determination;
  • Recommitting to the Council of Australian Government’s (COAG) Closing the Gap framework that involves renewing and increasing investments and national, state/territory and regional agreements to meet expanded Closing the Gap targets that are co-designed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • Investing in, and supporting, anti-racism campaigns and resources including maintaining strong legislative protections against racial discrimination and taking leadership to promote a zero-tolerance approach to racism and discrimination.

Read the Summary Report

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Referendum #Ulurustatement : Indigenous campaigners awarded Australia Day honours for role in 1967 referendum Ruth Hennings, Diana Travis, Alfred Neal and Dulcie Flower honoured for service to their communities

 ” Ruth Henning, Diana Travis, and Alfred Neal were awarded the medal of the order of Australia (OAM) on Saturday for their service to their communities and work on the 1967 referendum.

Aunty Dulcie Flower, who was granted the OAM in 1992, was made a member of the order of Australia (AM) for her work on the referendum, her role in the establishment of the Aboriginal Medical Service in Redfern, and her work as a nurse.

From the Guardian 26 January 2019

Alfie Neal and Ruth Wallace Hennings – brave the tropical rain at Yarrabah where they sat and planned the vote for Australia’s indigenous population. Picture: Brian Cassey

 ” More than 50 years ago, Ruth Hennings sat with Alfred Neal day after day under the “Tree of Knowledge” in Yarrabah, near Cairns, plotting the protest movement across Queensland’s conservative north that helped bring the beginnings of equality for ­Aboriginal Australians.

It was from there that the mission-raised pair led the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement League, in its struggle to win support for the successful 1967 referendum, enabling laws for indigenous people and including them in the census.

The only survivors of the league, Ms Hennings, 85, and Mr Neal, 94, reunited yesterday on the beach near where the tree stood after learning they — had been awarded Order of Australia Medals for services to the indigenous community.”

From the Australian 26 January 2019

Campaigners mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum on 24 May 2017, including Alfred Neal, left, and Dulcie Flower, second right, who have both been recognised in the 2019 Australia Day honours. Photograph: Mike Bowers for the Guardian

On the day of the 1967 referendum, Ruth Hennings was handing out “vote yes” flyers at a local school in Cairns.

It was the first sign she had that the campaign to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were included in the census, and to give the federal government power to make laws specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, had won the support of a majority of Australian citizens.

“Nearly everyone who was there, they all said good luck and hoped everything would turn out good,” Hennings said. “So they gave me a good feeling of ‘it will change’.”

When the votes were counted, that feeling was confirmed: 91% of Australians voted yes.

The next step, Hennings said, was a plan to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were recognised in the constitution as the First Peoples of Australia.

See Ruths story Brisbane Times

Fifty-two years later that still has not happened and the Uluru Statement, which sets out a path forward, was rejected by the federal government.

Hennings is 85 now, a celebrated elder. On Saturday she was one of four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people honoured for their role in the 1967 referendum, and for a lifetime of other community work.

She was a founding member of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advancement League in Cairns, which began in 1958, and attended meetings while working as a cleaner around the town for 15 shillings a day.

She told Guardian Australia constitutional recognition was still badly needed.

“We really need to get a body together where we can talk in one voice,” she said. “All of these things have been happening, money is being thrown around, and there’s no result … the main thing is getting that constitution right and making sure that we are all one people, we are all one Australia.”

Travis was just 19 when her grandfather Sir Douglas Nicholls, one of the most revered figures in Victoria, drove her to Canberra to take part in the referendum alongside her heroes: Charlie Perkins, Chicka Dixon, Oodgeroo Noonuccal, and Faith Bandler.

“They were all wonderful leaders, wonderful workers, focused and aware, so I was just in my joy being there, mingling and being amongst them all in Canberra,” she said.

Travis is now involved in native title work as a Dja Dja Wurrung claimant and a member of the Dhuudora native title group, and is an active participant in the Victorian treaty process.

“It may be a different time now but I still believe that there’s good people out there,” Travis said. “Some of them may not understand, but I just say: listen please, listen to us, talk to us. We’re not targeting you, it’s all about the government.”

She said she was in “two or three minds” about accepting the Australia Day honour, both because she does not support the celebration of Australia Day on 26 January – she will spend the morning in protest in Melbourne, as she does every year – and because she was not sure she had done enough to earn it.

Both Hennings and Travis said the singular focus and united purpose behind the 1967 referendum campaign was absent from modern reform debates.

“At that time we all had that one goal,” Henning said. “We all knew what we wanted, we were focused and willing and happy and we had FCAATSI (Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders) … But today there’s nothing.”

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #AustraliaDay2019 or #InvasionDay1788 Debate : With Editorial from PM @ScottMorrisonMP, Jeff Kennett and Marion Scrymgour : On #SurvivalDay 2019 we recognise the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

” Yesterday 25 January my family and I spent time with the Ngunnawal people — the first inhabitants of the Canberra region. We attended a smoking ceremony, an ancient cleansing ritual, in what I believe should become a prime ministerial tradition on the eve of Australia Day.

The timing, ahead of our national day, is entirely appropriate because the sacred custodianship of our indigenous people marked the first chapter in the story of our country.

Our First Australians walked here long before anyone else, loving and caring for these lands and waters. They still do. We honour their resilience and stewardship across 60,000 years. We pay respect to the world’s oldest continuous culture.

A culture that is alive; a culture that has survived. A culture that speaks to us no matter what our background as Australians because it is part of the living, breathing soul of our land.

Scott Morrison is the Prime Minister of Australia see full Text Published 26 January 2019 The Australian see Part 1 Below 

Watch video

 Minnie Tompkins ochreing the PM’s two Daughters at the event : Copyright Billy T.Tompkins

” We cannot celebrate 26 January when our children still face the devastating impacts of colonisation. Instead, on Survival Day we recognise the strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the survival of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

If we are to celebrate the many great things about our nation, we need a new date that is inclusive of all Australians and ensures we can all participate in celebrations together.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people 26 January and the colonisation of Australia is a reflection of the ongoing discrimination and violation of human rights that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children face today.”

SNAICC Press Release 26 January 2019 

It was with profound sadness that I read two stories in The Australian this week: first was the front-page piece “Conservative MPs push to protect January 26”, published on Thursday, and then yesterday, “Dutton puts pressure on PM with support for Australia Day law”. This second story was accompanied by a report on an “invasion day” rally planned for the steps of Parliament House today.

In my column in Melbourne’s Herald Sun this week, I presented the case for changing the date from January 26.

I am the first to admit the issue of the date on which we celebrate Australia Day is not the top priority for Australians. Nor is the recalibration of the way in which Australia recognises its First Peoples. But changing the date is a start in building the recognition and trust I believe is necessary in an educated country

Stop this insult to our First Peoples in the Australian 26 January 2019

Jeff Kennett was the Liberal premier of Victoria, 1992-99 see Part 2 Below

” How can Australia possibly persist in celebrating as its national day the colonial acts of a foreign country? Without even touching on the sensitivities of Indigenous people, where does that leave the majority of Australians who came to or are descended from people who came to this country since Federation (including exponentially increasing numbers of Asian Australians)?

And finally, just to return to the issue of the stake of Indigenous people in this nation. Some have suggested that because there are pressing and immediate issues which are undermining our prospects for progress and wellbeing, it is inappropriate to spend time and energy participating in the debate about our national day.

Like many others who are committed to tackling domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and unemployment amongst our people, I believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time.” 

Marion Scrymgour is currently the Chief Executive Officer of the Tiwi Islands Regional Council. Prior to this she was the Chief Executive Officer of the Wurli-Wurliinjang Health Service and was Chair of the Aboriginal Medical Services Alliance of the Northern Territory.

Part 4 Invasion Day rally 2019: where to find marches and protests across Australia

Part 1 January 26, 1788 marked the birth of today’s modern Australia Scott Morrison

Today we also remember the second chapter of our country’s history that began on January 26, 1788, with the arrival of the First Fleet.

Wooden convict ships came carrying men and women who were sick, poor and destitute. Those men and women, who included my own ancestors, persevered, endured and won their freedom. They braved hardship and built lives and families. Indeed, the wonder of our country is that out of such hardship would emerge a nation as decent, as fair and as prosperous as ours.

For along with the cruelties of empire came the ideas of the Enlightenment, and Australia was the great project. Notions of liberty, enterprise and human dignity became the foundation for modern Australia.

And we embrace, too, all those who’ve come since — to make us the happy, thriving, multicultural democracy that we are. That’s the third chapter of our story: the one we’re still writing.

Across Australia, 16,212 men, women and children will become citizens today in more than 365 ceremonies. They will be endowed with the same rights, opportunities and responsibilities as every other Australian. Australia’s great bounty is that she is now made up of people from every nation on earth. Together, all these chapters make us who we are.

They’re not unblemished. We don’t have a perfect history. We’ve made mistakes, but no nation is perfect. But we have so much to be grateful for and so much to be proud of.

We’re a free nation, with an elected parliament, an independent judiciary and a free press. We believe in the equality of men and women — of all citizens no matter their creed, race, sexuality or gender. We’ve worked to create a nation that is harmonious, prosperous and safe — one where every individual matters.

That’s what today is about. Gratitude for all we have. Pride in who we’ve become together.

Australia Day is the day we come together. It’s the day we celebrate all Australians, all their stories, all their journeys. And we do this on January 26 because this is the day that Australia changed — forever — and set us on the course of the modern Australia we are today.

Our nation’s story is of a good-hearted and fair people always striving to be better. We have a go. We take risks. Occasionally we fall flat on our faces. But we get up. We always get up. After all, we know how to have a laugh. And we know how to help how mates when they’re down. Today we remember our history, we celebrate our achievements and we re-dedicate ourselves to the land and the people we love.

Happy Australia Day.

Scott Morrison is the Prime Minister of Australia.

Part 2  Stop this insult to our First Peoples

It was with profound sadness that I read two stories in The Australian this week: first was the front-page piece “Conservative MPs push to protect January 26”, published on Thursday, and then yesterday, “Dutton puts pressure on PM with support for Australia Day law”. This second story was accompanied by a report on an “invasion day” rally planned for the steps of Parliament House today.

In my column in Melbourne’s Herald Sun this week, I presented the case for changing the date from January 26.

I am the first to admit the issue of the date on which we celebrate Australia Day is not the top priority for Australians. Nor is the recalibration of the way in which Australia recognises its First Peoples. But changing the date is a start in building the recognition and trust I believe is necessary in an educated country.

Let me start with the claims of “invasion day”. This is a term used by some in the indigenous community and by activists. It has gathered some mileage because its use has not been challenged regularly.

Australia was not invaded in 1788, it was settled. The country was occupied by a people from a different community and race to those who were already here, spread in tribes throughout the land.

As those settlers spread from Sydney Cove, the First Peoples were dispossessed of their lands and, yes, as that happened atrocities were committed.

Commodore Arthur Phillip did not arrive with a military force when he settled Port Jackson in 1788. There was no intent to wage a war against the local inhabitants. In fact, the opposite was true. Phillip was commissioned to work with the inhabitants of the country. Although that did not occur, nor did an invasion.

Let me turn to those so-called conservatives mentioned earlier. Probably the closest political grouping we have in Australia that claims to be conservative is the Nationals. Members of the Liberal Party are part of a broader church that I had always taken to mean economically conservative and socially generous.

Together in government the parties and their members discuss and find consensus on issues through policy development.

It is inconceivable to me that these so-called conservatives cannot see how celebrating Australia Day on January 26 every year reinforces a sense of loss among our First Peoples.

How can they not understand that passing legislation to enshrine January 26 as Australia Day would insult our First Peoples and defer any real hope of building the recognition they deserve?

Their action in pursuing such legislation indicates yet again how out of touch and inflexible some members of parliament have become. This is in the face of the demonstrated generosity of the community on social issues such as same-sex marriage and recognition of the challenges facing our disabled and their carers.

Why can’t they see that the same social generosity should be extended to our First Peoples?

Why do they argue that we should continue to discriminate against an important section of our community who are offended by January 26 as the date of national celebration?

The only reason these so-called conservatives are doing so is because some polls suggested that 75 per cent of Australians support January 26 as the day for the celebration.

This reasoning simply continues the cowardice of so many of our federal politicians over the past two decades.

They are elected to lead. Make bold decisions. Correct areas that cause pain to the community when bold action can easily resolve such pain.

Some in the community argue the government is not conservative enough. I disagree. The issues that were relevant in the 1960s and 70s have evolved through education and extraordinary advances in technology. There is a growing recognition of individual rights.

While I respect the right of all individuals in a broad church to hold differing views, I reserve the right to disagree with them, as I do on this issue. It is in my opinion a myopic view, outdated and based on wrong motives.

I will be interested in see which conservatives put their names to any motion to put back any real advance in the recognition of our First Peoples.

As for Peter Dutton. Leader of the band? Jumping on the so-called conservative bandwagon? He has already done considerable damage to his political reputation and must accept much of the blame for the position of the government, having been instigator of the events that led to the removal of Malcolm Turnbull.

Leadership is what is required, Peter, not weakness. Leadership is what the community respects.

By the way, happy Australia Day to all. I hope today provides an opportunity for people, including politicians, to reconsider their position so that we can continue to build the respect we should be showing to our First Peoples.

Part 3 Let’s park the issues relating to Aboriginal people to one side and look at what the 26th of January represents and symbolises for Australians generally, and at how patently incompatible with our modern national identity it is as a selected national day.

Marion Scrymgour first published 2018

The debate about whether Australia Day should be changed to a date other than the 26th of January has in recent times been focussed on the offensiveness to many Indigenous Australians of using the commemoration of the establishment of an English colony in New South Wales as the foundation narrative of our national identity. The objection articulated by advocates for change is that it ignores, marginalises or diminishes Indigenous history and culture, and fails to acknowledge past injustices (some still unresolved).

Personally I think the objection is valid, but I accept that there are differing views. However, it is not necessary to even get into that argument to be persuaded conclusively that there should be a change of date. Let’s park the issues relating to Aboriginal people to one side and look at what the 26th of January represents and symbolises for Australians generally, and at how patently incompatible with our modern national identity it is as a selected national day.

The 26th of January marks the beginning of what sort of enterprise? What sort of uplifting and inspirational human endeavour? The answer is that it was a penal settlement. A remote punishment farm to warehouse the overflow from Britain’s prisons. A place of brutality and despair conceived out of a desire to keep a problem out of sight and out of mind.

Modern Australia has its flaws. Some may want to argue the toss over Don Dale or Manus Island, but the reality is that we are a civilised, enlightened and fair people. We embrace those values in ourselves and in each other. We all recognise how lucky we are to live in a tolerant society where diversity and difference are accepted and mateship and hard work are encouraged. We cherish our autonomy and freedom. A national day should resonate with and reflect those values. The way it can do that is by reminding us of something in our past which either brought out the best in our national character, or else represented a step along the path to our unique Australian identity.

Potential examples are many, but might include these: Kokoda; the first Snowy River hydro scheme (with its harnessing of migrant workers from all over Europe coming to seek a better life after the second world war); the abolition of the white Australia policy in 1966; the passage of the Australia Act in 1986 (when Australia’s court system finally became fully independent).

One thing I know for sure is that when we look into history’s mirror for some event or occasion that allows us to see ourselves as we aspire to be, the last and most alien screen we would contemplate downloading and sharing as emblematic of ourselves as Australians would be Sydney Cove in 1788. You just have to pause and think about it for a moment to be able to reject the concept as ludicrous. And yet that is the status quo that has become entrenched in our national calendar, through a process which has been more recent and less considered than most would be aware of.

In my view it is a matter of historical logic that Australia’s national day cannot be one which commemorates something which happened before Australia itself was created. That happened in 1901 when the various colonies joined together in a single federation in which each of them was transformed into an entity called a “state”.

The new Australian states were modelling themselves on the American colonies which had joined together to become the United States of America. Many of those colonies already had a long prior history since they had been established by European settlers and in most cases they were much prouder of their origins than those new Australian states which had started off as penal settlements. But if anyone, then or since, had proposed that the national day for the USA should be some day commemorating the early history of some individual colony, they would have been howled down by Americans. The American national day celebrates the independence of the unified whole, not a way-station in the history of a pre-independence colony. It should be the same with us.

If any recent event should have served to underscore the lack of fit between the date on which our national day is currently celebrated and our contemporary political reality it is the disqualifying of Federal Parliamentarians who have belatedly discovered that they are British citizens.

Just think about that for a moment. The colony of New South Wales was established on behalf of the British Crown. Then when the country called Australia was created in 1901, its people were classed as British subjects. Stand-alone citizenship came later and things have been slowly and fundamentally changing. In 2018 Britain is a foreign country and if you are a citizen of that country you are excluded from being elected to our Australian parliament. That is because it is recognised that there are conflicting interests and allegiances.

How can Australia possibly persist in celebrating as its national day the colonial acts of a foreign country? Without even touching on the sensitivities of Indigenous people, where does that leave the majority of Australians who came to or are descended from people who came to this country since Federation (including exponentially increasing numbers of Asian Australians)?

And finally, just to return to the issue of the stake of Indigenous people in this nation. Some have suggested that because there are pressing and immediate issues which are undermining our prospects for progress and wellbeing, it is inappropriate to spend time and energy participating in the debate about our national day. Like many others who are committed to tackling domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, and unemployment amongst our people, I believe we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

Marion Scrymgour

 

NACCHO #AlwaysWillBe #ChangeTheDate Aboriginal Health and #AustraliaDay #InvasionDay #Survival Day : Has the national media generally ignored many of the issues underpinning Invasion Day protests ? Commentary from @ShannanJDodson @EllaMareeAB @SummerMayFinlay

“ Negative reporting is commonplace for Indigenous people.

study of more than 350 articles about Aboriginal health, published over a 12-month period showed that almost 75% of these articles were negative.

Negative portrayals of Aboriginal health frequently included the topics of alcohol, child abuse, petrol sniffing, violence, crime and deaths in custody.

Unfortunately, these are issues that are the everyday reality for our communities, but they are rarely explained in context. There is no explanation of the root of these issues, which is intergenerational trauma caused by colonisation, dispossession, the Stolen Generations, entrenched racism, discriminatory policies and poverty.

Every time the media reinforces negative stereotypes it exacerbates prejudice, racism and misconceptions.

Shannan Dodson is a Yawuru woman and Indigenous Affairs Advisor for Media Diversity Australia and co-authored a handbook for better reporting on Indigenous peoples and issues. Follow Shannan @ShannanJDodson

“It would be really worthwhile if journalists out there came down to our community and tried to talk to our parents, our elders and tried to engage in a meaningful way and tried to find out where Aboriginal people are headed and what we’re trying to achieve.

Media is not interested in what makes our people tick, what our people really want, what our people really need.

They’re only interested if we’re burning down buildings or knuckling on with the coppers out in the middle of the street.

The media, instead of reporting the news of the day, is actually shaping the news of the day by peddling those extremist quick five-second news grabs.”

Veteran political activist Sam Watson has appealed to media to meaningfully engage with Indigenous communities ahead of Invasion Day rallies across Australia.

The Brisbane Elder – who co-founded the Brisbane chapter of the Black Panther Party in the 1970s – said commercial media had generally ignored many of the issues underpinning Invasion Day protests

 ” Why are white people on Sunrise with no experience calling for Indigenous child removals?

OPINION: “Debates facilitated by the wrong people does little more than stir up emotions and reinforce negative stereotypes rather than focus on solutions,”

Summer May Finlay


Part 1 OPINION: New Today host Brooke Boney cannot address every issue affecting our communities, but this week, she has shown she will not shy away from them went prompted, writes Shannan Dodson.

Watch video here

It is 2019, and we are only now seeing the first Indigenous commercial breakfast TV presenter, Gamilaroi Gomeroi woman Brooke Boney.

“Brooke Boney” has been trending on Twitter over the last two days as the new Channel 9 Today host offered a perspective not often given by a commercial TV presenter— discussing the hurt and anger associated with celebrating our national day “Australia Day” on 26 January.

Hopefully, by now we all know that this date is synonymous with colonisation (the anniversary of the British proclaiming the land for the Commonwealth) and the impact is still being felt by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today. As Brooke says regarding the symbolism of 26 January, “that’s the beginning of what some people would say is the end, that’s the turning point.”

The Nine Network’s new Today Show reporter spoke out about why she won’t be celebrating Australia Day on January 26.

The proud Gamilaroi woman said: “I don’t want to celebrate it.”

This conversation is not a new one, it’s something our communities have protested about and asked for reflection on for decades.

But the fact is that many Australians are not used to seeing this type of commentary on a commercial breakfast show, particularly from an Indigenous person, who is not a guest, but a permanent fixture in the line-up.

Many Australians are not used to seeing this type of commentary on a commercial breakfast show, particularly from an Indigenous person, who is not a guest, but a permanent fixture in the line-up.

I’m sure many of the viewers heard of Brooke’s appointment, they were hoping that she would steer away from these uncomfortable conversations, and would maintain a level of commentary that doesn’t prod or unbalance the status-quo.

While much of the reaction to Brooke’s comment has been positive and supportive, there are of course the people — probably the same people that denigrated Adam Goodes — angry at what she had to say. It is difficult to face up to the truth of our history, and for many people to wrap their heads around the link between 26 January, colonisation and the intergenerational trauma we live.

And of course, once a minority starts to speak out against the comfortable ignorance this country has sat in for eternity, it is confronting and they are no longer playing their desired role of submissive bystander.

Breakfast shows have had ongoing criticism for the lack of diversity in not only the hosts, but guests also. And for not only skirting around Indigenous issues, but being blatantly discriminatory when reporting on them. Brooke is tipping the balance not by just being there, but by speaking her truth.

Are we starting to see a shift in mainstream media? While sceptical, I’m positive.

Brooke is not going anywhere anytime soon, and while we can’t expect her to address every issue affecting our communities, she has shown that she will not shy away from them. Her presence will lead to more Indigenous people being represented in commercial media, and hopefully more diversity in general.

We’ve got to be realistic about the kind of power the media has on public opinion, policy making, politics and social change. Pressure from the media has resulted in Royal Commissions, protests, legislation changes and the list goes on. Media companies, broadcast networks and television programs hold a power we cannot underestimate.

Having an Indigenous voice front and centre having these conversations with an audience that may have largely never heard them (or wanted to hear them) is important to the psyche and growth of the nation.

With this kind of power, surely the media should reflect the country that it serves. Well, unsurprisingly it does not. The recent census shows that the most common countries of birth in Australia are England, NZ, China, India and the Philippines.

But a recent Price Waterhouse Coopers report concluded that 82.7 per cent of the national entertainment and media industry are monolingual, speaking only English at home and on average was a young, white male who lived in Sydney’s eastern suburbs.

This is not an accurate reflection of the diversity of backgrounds, cultures, languages, perspectives, and experiences in Australia.

Australians turn to the mainstream media to get information, scrutiny and context about news and current affairs. And they are often met with a largely Anglo panel discussing issues they have no knowledge about, without any fair representation and balance.

Having Brooke on commercial television — a proud young strong Aboriginal woman —we are giving mainstream audiences, whether they like it a not, a peek into the everyday lives of our communities.

Having Brooke on commercial television — a proud young strong Aboriginal woman —we are giving mainstream audiences, whether they like it a not, a peek into the everyday lives of our communities. It is turning those perpetuated stereotypes on their head and countering negative commentary with factual and open dialogue.

She is generously and vulnerably giving her perspective — her lived experience — to try and open people’s minds to an alternative way of looking at things than what commercial television has served us over the years.

It must only go up from here. Our mob will only continue to infiltrate commercial television stations, and those uncomfortable conversations will hopefully be as commonplace and accepted as the lack of diversity on our screens.

Join NITV for a week of programming which showcases the strength, courage and resilience of our people. #AlwaysWillBe starts Sunday, 20 January on NITV (Ch. 34)

Part 2 The media is only interested in Indigenous protests if they’re “burning down buildings”, says a veteran Aboriginal activist.

By

Ella Archibald-Binge

Veteran political activist Sam Watson has appealed to media to meaningfully engage with Indigenous communities ahead of Invasion Day rallies across Australia.

“It would be really worthwhile if journalists out there came down to our community and tried to talk to our parents, our elders and tried to engage in a meaningful way and tried to find out where Aboriginal people are headed and what we’re trying to achieve,” he told NITV News.

The Brisbane Elder – who co-founded the Brisbane chapter of the Black Panther Party in the 1970s – said commercial media had generally ignored many of the issues underpinning Invasion Day protests.

“Media is not interested in what makes our people tick, what our people really want, what our people really need,” he said.

“They’re only interested if we’re burning down buildings or knuckling on with the coppers out in the middle of the street.

“The media, instead of reporting the news of the day, is actually shaping the news of the day by peddling those extremist quick five-second news grabs.”

Invasion Day marches are growing each year, attracting supporters from a variety of cultural backgrounds.

The rallies highlight a gaping divide between those who celebrate Australia Day, and those who want to change the date, or abolish it altogether.

They also aim to highlight the disparity between First Nations people and the wider population in areas such as health, incarceration, deaths in custody, child removals and suicide rates.

Mr Watson says it’s important that Australian audiences are getting the full story, in order to better understand Indigenous perspectives.

“Australians, because of the enormous pressures of life that we’re living now [and] having to work long hours, they get very little time to absorb the news of the day,” he said.

“So it’s important that when they do get the opportunity to read the newspapers or look at the TV or listen to the radio, that they’re receiving quality, unbiased, balanced news reporting.”

Tens of thousands of people are expected to attend January 26 rallies at capital cities and regional centres across Australia on Saturday.

NACCHO #AlwaysWillBe #ChangeTheDate Aboriginal Health and #AustraliaDay #InvasionDay #Survival Day A week of programming on @NITV will explore what 26 January means to Indigenous people.

“Australia’s First Nations Peoples are diverse with different perspectives and views, and NITV’s programming surrounding 26 January will reflect this. The day provides an opportunity for all Australians, no matter what their cultural background, to come together to recognise Indigenous history – which is Australia’s history.

“The NITV mob will also be hitting the road and going out into the community to showcase events that are happening around the country, and share Indigenous voices and storytelling exploring what this day means for many.”

NITV Channel Manager, Tanya Orman

Survival Day? Australia Day? Invasion Day? Day of Mourning? Feeling confused yet? We explain the history and meaning behind these different names for January 26

Panel discussions, documentaries, films and news will commence from Sunday 20 January to Saturday 26 January 2019.

NITV invites all Australians to hear stories of our nation’s shared history from an Indigenous perspective, and to explore what 26 January means to Indigenous people, through a curated slate of distinctive programming called #AlwaysWillBe.

#AlwaysWillBe will be presented by Indigenous actor and national treasure, Uncle Jack Charles, and will shine a light on stories of strength, resilience, survival and celebration.

As Australia’s national Indigenous broadcaster, NITV’s dedicated programming and news updates on television (Channel 34), NITV Radio, online and across social media, will share Indigenous voices and Songlines – the complex Aboriginal belief systems that interconnect land, deep spirituality, knowledge and values – helping all Australians deepen their understanding of our nation’s identity.

NITV’s #AlwaysWillBe week of programming begins from Sunday 20 January at 7pm with the Songlines documentary, Yarripiri’s Story.

Kicking off the 26 January programming live from Sydney’s North Head is the Sunrise Ceremonywhich will be hosted by John Paul Janke, with panellists Richard Frankland, Aunty Rosalie Kunoth-Monks, Teela Reid and Bianca Hunt. The ceremony will also feature cultural performances and live entertainment by Shellie Morris, Djakapurra Yunupingu, Dhapanbal Yunupingu, Arian Pearson and Mim Kwanten.

Following the Sunrise Ceremony. NITV will premiere the second season of the landmark series Songlines on Screen, documentaries Ningla-A-Na, 88, Connection to Country, Occupation: Native, Westwind: Djalu’s Legacy and Rabbit Proof Fence, as well as featuring NITV News: Day 26 from Sydney’s annual Yabun festival.

NITV’s flagship news and current affairs program, The Point, hosted by Rachael Hocking and John-Paul Janke, will return for its new season with a special episode called iProtest in its new timeslot of 8.30pm on Wednesdays. The episode takes an in-depth look at historic reactions to Indigenous protests and examines news coverage from the last three years of the ‘Change the Date’ movement. Panellists will include Jack Latimore, David Mar, Lilly Brown, Amy McGuire and Carla McGrath.

Additional programming throughout the week includes documentaries, Wik vs Queensland, We Don’t Need a Map and After Mabo; films Radiance and Samson and Delilah; SBS’ documentary series First Contact, comedy series Black Comedy and the film adaptation of the much loved book, Jasper Jones.

NITV will run Facebook Live streams from the #Always Will Be Sunrise Ceremony and Yabun Festival and live coverage throughout the day from events around the country hosted by NITV correspondents.

Further digital content will include social videos featuring Uncle Jack Charles, comedy skits with Ian Zaro, the premiere of Hunt for the Yidaki – an immersive 360 VR experience of the Yolgnu culture.

NITV online is also encouraging the public to identify the Aboriginal land they’re on and share it on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) posting a photo of themselves holding a written sign saying, “I am on [identified Aboriginal] land #AlwaysWillBe”.

 

Originally Published here 

Australia Day ?

Australia Day is Australia’s national day commemorating January 26, 1788, the date on which Captain Arthur Phillip raised the flag of Great Britain and proclaimed a colonial outpost of the British Empire in Port Jackson, later Sydney Cove.

Though the day had been marked formally as ‘Foundation Day’ in the early years of the colony in New South Wales, the collective nation of Australia didn’t formally begin until federation on New Year’s Day, 1901.

Discussions about holding a national day were raised in the early 1900s and by 1935 all Australia states and territories had adopted the term ‘Australia Day’. However it wasn’t until 1994 that the whole country began to celebrate Australia Day on January 26 with a national public holiday.

What do we celebrate?

To many, Australia Day is a day of celebration of the values, freedoms and pastimes of our country. To some, it represents new beginnings and gaining citizenship in a country of relative peace and freedom. To others, it is a day to spend at community events or at a barbeque with family, friends and a game of backyard cricket.

The National Australia Day Council was founded in 1979 and coordinates many of the events that are held including the Australia of the Year Awards. They state that on Australia Day we ‘celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australia. It’s the day to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can be proud of in our great nation… the day for us to re-commit to making Australia an even better place for the future.’

Invasion Day?

For some Australians, particularly among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, January 26 is not a day of celebration, but is seen as a day which commemorates the invasion by British settlers of lands already owned.

A day of mourning:

In 1938, on the 150th anniversary celebrations, William Cooper, a member of the Aboriginal Progressive Association, and other activists met and held a ‘Day of Mourning and Protest‘.

For many the day involves recognising the history of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including the trauma caused by government policies of assimilation and separation that saw many people removed from their traditional lands and culture.

This also includes recognition of the violence of the Frontier Wars, a period of conflict between settlers and Australia’s Indigenous peoples, which lasted from 1788 up until the time around the Coniston massacre in 1928.

Nakkiah Lui, a Gamilaroi and Torres Strait Islander actor and playwright, wrote an opinion piece in the Guardian explaining why she refused to celebrate the day but instead viewed it as a day of mourning.

“We mourn the declaration of Australia as terra nullius (land that belongs to no one) as well as those who have died in massacres, those who were dispossessed of their land and homes, those were denied their humanity, those who were shackled, beaten, sent to prison camps, and made to live in reserves.”

Indigenous sovereignty:

Invasion Day is also seen as an opportunity to assert the sovereignty of Indigenous peoples. Each year, marches are held in cities around Australia protesting the ‘celebration’ of Australia Day and calling for sovereignty and social justice for Indigenous Australians.

In 2013, Tasmanian activist and lawyer Michael Mansell spoke of refusing his nomination as Senior Australian of the Year for Tasmania to the Guardian.

“Australia Day is a celebration of an invasion which resulted in the ethnic cleansing of Aborigines. To participate would be to abandon the continuing struggle of my people.”

Mansell also called for further action in the area of sovereignty: a treaty including land settlement provisions, designated government representation and a separate Indigenous Assembly.

Day of Mourning?

The first Day of Mourning was held in Sydney in 1938, the 150th anniversary of the First Fleet landing in Sydney Cove. Participants marched in silent protest from Town Hall to the Australian Hall in Elizabeth St. After this, a meeting was held with around 100 people attending.

Day of Mourning 1938

At the meeting, President of the Aborigines Progressives Association, Jack Patten read the following resolution.

“We, representing the Aborigines of Australia, assembled in conference at the Australian Hall, Sydney, on the 26th day of January, 1938, this being the 150th Anniversary of the Whiteman’s seizure of our country, hereby make protest against the callous treatment of our people by the whitemen during the past 150 years, and we appeal to the Australian nation of today to make new laws for the education and care of Aborigines, we ask for a new policy which will raise our people to full citizen status and equality within the community.” The resolution was unanimously passed.

Following the meeting, several attendees went to La Parouse, where several memorial wreaths, prepared by Pearl Gibbs, were floated to sea in a gesture symbolising 150 years of loss and oppression.

Change the Date?

The timing of the celebration is seen as of particular concern as it marks the date of colonisation, unlike other countries which celebrate their national day on their day of independence or on another special day. For example New Zealand celebrates Waitangi Day on 6 February, commemorating the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between the settlers and the local Maori people in 1840.

Lowitja O’Donoghue who was awarded Australian of the Year in 1984 pleaded for dialogue about changing the date of Australia Day.

“Let us find a day on which we can all feel included, in which we can all participate equally, and can celebrate with pride our common Australian identity.”

Survival Day?

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Australia Day is also an opportunity to recognise the survival of our people and our culture. Despite colonisation, discrimination and comprehensive inequalities, we continue to practise our traditions, look after the land and make our voices heard in the public sphere. We survive.

The 1988 Bicentenary of Australia saw a large protest in Sydney in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians marched together. Activist Gary Foley described it as black and white Australians coming together in harmony that represented Australia as it could be.

Campaigner for Reconciliation and Australian of the Year in 2000, Gustav Nossal spoke about the potential for Australia Day to celebrate and respect Indigenous people and their history.

‘The great majority of Indigenous people want to live in one Australia; want to share in its destiny; want to participate in and contribute to its progress; but at the same time, want the recognition and respect that their status and millennia old civilisation so clearly warrant.’

In contrast to Australia Day events, which have historically been organised with little or no consultation with local Aboriginal people, the first Survival Day festivals were initiated by Aboriginal communities in Sydney and marked a celebration of our achievements and culture. Today many Survival Day events are held around the country, celebrating our people, culture and survival.

Mick Dodson, law professor and Australian of the Year in 2009, spoke to Koori Mail about the community support behind this recognition of Indigenous people.

‘Ninety per cent of people are saying Australia Day should be inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. I firmly believe that some day we will choose a date that is a comprehensive and inclusive date for all Australians.’

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health and #Uluru #Voice #Treaty @RecAustralia Reconciliation Australia’s Vision of National Reconciliation is based on five critical dimensions: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity and historical acceptance.

‘‘Here in Australia we’re fortunate enough to have one of the richest and oldest continuing cultures in the world,

This is something we should all be proud of and celebrate.’’

As we begin a new year 2019 , it is an appropriate time to pause and reflect on our progress towards a just, equitable and reconciled Australia. Reconciliation Australia co-chair Tom Calma AO highlighted the uniqueness of the history of Australia.

Part 1 : Reconciliation Australia’s Vision of National Reconciliation is based on five critical dimensions: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity and historical acceptance.

Originally published here Shepparton Region Reconciliation Group convenor Dierdre Robertson

These five dimensions do not exist in isolation; they are inter-related and Australia can only achieve full reconciliation if there is progress in all five.

Race relations: All Australians understand and value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous cultures’, rights and experiences, which results in stronger relationships based on trust and respect and that are free of racism.

Equality and equity: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples participate equally in a range of life opportunities and the unique rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are recognised and upheld.

Unity: An Australian society that values and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage as a proud part of a shared identity.

Institutional integrity: The active support of reconciliation by the nation’s political, business and community structures.

Historical acceptance: All Australians understand and accept the wrongs of the past and the impact of these wrongs. Australia makes amends for the wrongs of the past and ensures these wrongs are never repeated.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been calling for treaty/ies for many decades.

Negotiation of treaties and agreements by all governments and parliaments were recommendations of the final report of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 2000.

Given that Australia is the only Commonwealth country that does not have a treaty with its First National Peoples, the progress towards treaty/treaties in Victoria is an important first step towards true reconciliation.

History was made with the passage through the Victorian Parliament of Australia’s first ever treaty legislation in June 2018.

A number of other jurisdictions are progressing their own treaty and agreement-making processes, and are looking to Victoria with interest.

The South Australian Government had started treaty negotiations with Traditional Owners before a change of government paused negotiations.

Discussions are also under way in the Northern Territory and Queensland.

The First Nations National Constitutional Convention at Uluru in 2017 brought together 250 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and led to the Statement from the Heart, which included the following: ‘‘We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.’’

The constitutional convention called for a Voice to Parliament — a national indigenous representative body enshrined in the constitution.

The convention also called for a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

The Final Report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples was handed down in November 2018.

The key point of this report is that the voice should become a reality and that it will be co-designed with government by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples right across the nation.

After the design process is complete the legal form of the voice can then be worked out.

It will be easier to work out the legal form the voice should take once there is clarity on what the voice looks like.

The commitment to a voice, and the commitment to co-design of that voice are significant steps for the parliament to discuss and consider.

They are significant steps towards a bipartisan and agreed approach to advancing the cause of constitutional recognition.

The Joint Select Committee Final Report also stated ‘‘We believe there is a strong desire among all Australians to know more about the history, traditions and culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their contact with other Australians both good and bad. A fuller understanding of our history including the relationship between black and white Australia will lead to a more reconciled nation.’’

With the backdrop of this progress, what can you do to work towards a reconciled Australia?

Become informed about the treaty progress in Victoria and get on board to lobby and advocate for justice and self-determination for Victoria’s First Nations Peoples.

Visit http:www.vic.gov.au/aboriginalvictoria.html

https://treaty.org.au

Find out more about the Uluru Statement from the Heart and add your voice to those of other Australians who have supported the reforms in the Uluru Statement, visit https://www.1voiceuluru.org/

Read the Final Report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples by going to https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary—Business/Committees/Joint/Constitutional—Recognition—2018/ConstRecognition/Final—Report

Part 2 From the Australian Monday 14 January 2019

Bill Shorten’s proposal for a ­republican plebiscite faces an assault from prominent Indigenous figures who are calling on Labor to dump the policy and focus on establishing an indigenous voice to parliament.

Leading Indigenous academics Megan Davis, Marcia Langton and Eddie Synot say the campaign for an indigenous voice should be given clear air.

The Greens are also urging Labor to dump a first-term plebiscite on the republic, along with Maritime Union of Australia Northern Territory branch secretary Thomas Mayor.

At its national conference last month, Labor committed to making the voice a priority for constitutional change but did not commit to a timeline on a referendum.

Professor Davis said Labor should junk its plans for a first-term plebiscite on the republic. “The referendum for a constitutionally enshrined voice is the civic question that has actively occupied the minds of Australians for eight years,” she said. “This referendum requires clear air. We want a just republic, not just a republic.’’

Professor Langton said she had not spoken to a single Indigenous Australian who supported a republican plebiscite being held before a referendum on the voice.

“It kills off the chance of our issues getting clear air,” she said. “It is pretty clear that republicans, while they think they have a handle on our issues, clearly don’t.”

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #Election2019 : A Labor Government will become the first political party to put in place a #RAP #ReconciliationActionPlan – and commits to us having a #voice in the party, in our parliament, and in our society.

 ” A Shorten Labor Government will become the first political party to put in place a Reconciliation Action Plan – committing our party to practical measures to give First Australians a voice in our party, in our parliament, and in our society.

For Labor, reconciliation and recognition is about ensuring that First Nations people have the same rights, opportunities and outcomes as every other Australian. Labor’s Reconciliation Action Plan includes strategies to work to better understand how to improve the current involvement of, and relationships with, First Nations People.”

From Labor Party Press Release in full below : More information on Labor’s Reconciliation Action Plan can be found here DOWNLOAD 

Labor Party reconciliation-action-plan

Bill Shorten Speech 

Download a full copy HERE Bill Shorten Speech

Labor recognizes its role in building a more equitable relationship – one in which the rights and obligations flow both ways. This includes a commitment to establishing a Voice and enshrining it in the Constitution. It is our first priority for Constitutional change.

Labor’s Reconciliation Action Plan is a practical plan with measurable timeframes – ensuring that at every level of our party we are constantly building our understanding of the issues that affect First Nations People’s equality and aspirations, and developing practical ideas for achieving sustainable change.

These goals have eluded us as a nation for more than two centuries. It is time for that to change – and Labor wants to lead this change.

Reconciliation and recognition is about acknowledging – and celebrating – the unique place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first people and custodians of

Australia and recognising the need for change through real partnerships.

In doing this Labor can continue to lead the way on our nation’s path to Recognition, Reconciliation and Justice.

A fair go for Australia also means a fair go for First Nations People.

 

NACCHO Aboriginal Health #UluruStatement #StatementFromtheHeart #firstNationsVoice : Final report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition

” The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples has presented its final report to the Parliament.

The Committee was established in March to consider matters relating to constitutional change, including the recommendations of the Expert Panel, the previous Joint Select Committee, the Statement from the Heart, and the Referendum Council.”

From the APH Website VIEW HERE 

 ” NACCHO Chair Ms Donnella Mills and CEO Pat Turner have welcomed the Joint Parliamentary Committee report on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. However, as the saying goes the devil is in the detail and NACCHO looks forward to what the parliamentary parties and cross benches propose as election commitments.”

Please refer to the NACCHO Press Release 30 Nov PDF for more details

Read / Download Press Release NACCHO Welcomes Report

 ” The Statement from the Heart is one of the most significant documents produced in the history of Reconciliation and, from day one, Labor has been determined to accord the Statement proper respect and thorough consideration.

If elected in 2019, a Shorten Labor Government will move quickly to agree a process together with First Nations people to make the Voice a reality – including a pathway to a referendum.

Labor supports a Voice. We support enshrining it in the Constitution. This is our
first priority for Constitutional change.”

Senator Patrick Dodson From the Labor Party Press Release

Labor Party Press Release

 ” It is well and truly time our governments are held to account in realising our rights, and respond to us by using the Joint Select Committee’s report and this new set of recommendations, so we have a way forward to reconcile and be recognised.

Until then we will not be heard with equal weight and consequence in determining the future of this nation together.

As I’m travelling around the country, I am hearing from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people a strong call for meaningful participation in decisions that affect their lives.

I support the Joint Select Committee’s recommendations for an intensive country-wide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led co-design process to consider the national, regional and local elements of the Voice to parliament.

We must deal with the unfinished business of this country and finally incorporate our voice and rights into the country’s founding document.

What we need now is political leadership to make sure the Joint Select Committee’s recommendations are realised.”

June Oscar AO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner

The Greens senator Rachel Siewert has released a minority report taking the view that a referendum should take place before any co-design process.

We disagree that the design of the voice should come first and are disappointed that the majority report is unable even to agree to support constitutional entrenchment of the voice, despite the clear support by First Nations peoples for the voice and constitutional change

From The Greens Press Release see below

The Greens

At the outset, the Committee understood and acknowledged that the Statement from the Heart was a significant turning point in the discussion about the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

As such, the Committee focussed its efforts on the central proposal for constitutional change made in the Statement from the Heart—the proposal for a First Nations Voice.

The Committee has also been mindful of the need to ensure that its recommendations are legitimate and acceptable to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the Parliament, and, ultimately, the Australian people.

In its interim report, the Committee considered the proposal for a Voice in detail, and since July the Committee continued to seek the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and others about how best to achieve constitutional recognition.

In its final report, the Committee endorses the proposal for a Voice. The Committee recommends a process of co-design between government and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to determine the detail of the Voice, to conclude within the term of the 46th Parliament.

The Committee further recommends that the appropriate legal form of the Voice be determined following this process of co-design.

The Committee considers that these recommendations are significant steps for the Parliament to discuss and consider, and significant steps towards a bipartisan and agreed approach to advancing the cause of constitutional recognition.

The Committee also makes recommendations in relation to truth-telling about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, traditions, and culture. The Committee hopes that a fuller understanding of Australia’s history will lead to a more reconciled nation.

List of recommendations

Recommendation 1

In order to achieve a design for The Voice that best suits the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the Committee recommends that the Australian Government initiate a process of co-design with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The co-design process should:
  • consider national, regional and local elements of The Voice and how they interconnect;
  • be conducted by a group comprising a majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and officials or appointees of the Australian Government;
  • be conducted on a full-time basis and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations across Australia, including remote, regional, and urban communities;
  • outline and discuss possible options for the local, regional, and national elements of The Voice, including the structure, membership, functions, and operation of The Voice, but with a principal focus on the local bodies and regional bodies and their design and implementation;
  • consider the principles, models, and design questions identified by this Committee as a starting point for consultation documents; and
  • report to the Government within the term of the 46th Parliament with sufficient time to give The Voice legal form.

Recommendation 2

The Committee recommends that, following a process of co-design, the Australian Government consider, in a deliberate and timely manner, legislative, executive and constitutional options to establish The Voice.

Recommendation 3

The Committee recommends that the Australian Government support the process of truth-telling. This could include the involvement of local organisations and communities, libraries, historical societies and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander associations. Some national coordination may be required, not to determine outcomes but to provide incentive and vision. These projects should include both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and descendants of local settlers. This could be done either prior to or after the establishment of the local voice bodies.

Recommendation 4

The Committee also recommends that the Australian Government consider the establishment, in Canberra, of a National Resting Place, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander remains which could be a place of commemoration, healing and reflection

The Committee acknowledges and thanks everyone who participated in the inquiry, including those who made written submissions and gave evidence at public hearings around Australia.

The final report is available on the Committee’s website at: www.aph.gov.au/jsccr.