Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Aboriginal Living Standards

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare relased a report today that documents troubling statistics about the living standards and health conditions of Aboriginals in occupied Australia.

Jenny Macklin, the Indigenous Affairs Minister, says the report is "shocking" but she was careful to add that "The Australian government is determined to tackle these unacceptable levels of indigenous disadvantage."

Just an aside here, why is a white woman in charge of Indigenous Affairs? Just wondering aloud.

Anyway, it is said that there are only 450 thousand Aborigines left among the other 21 million people who live in occupied Australia. This is the most disturbing statistic in my mind because it reflects the brutal weight of occupation.

The report references the fact that the life average expectancy of an Aboriginal is 17 years less than that of a white Australian.

Only 23% of all Aboriginal kids in school finish high school. And if you think this number is ridiculously low then you should know that this number reflects an increase of 3% between 2001 and 2006.

During the same period, Aboriginals were unemployed at a rate three times higher than the national average.

Given these oppressive conditions one should hardly be surprised that Aboriginals are 50% less likely to own their own homes and are hospitalized at a rate that is twice that of other Australians.

And, given the high-handed and unjust intervention in Aboriginal communities and lands, we should note that the government is six times more likely to remove an Aboriginal child from its parents than any other child in Australia.

To say that Aboriginals are suffering a continuing genocide in occupied Australia is hardly hyperbole, it is the truth.



Reggie said...

No surprise then that so many white South Africans find Australia to be a 'home away from home'. Its almost like 'back in the days'

Ridwan said...

You said it right and you said it straight Reggie.

In a very real sense Australia has become what apartheid South Africa failed to become.

I remember hearing some whites saying that South Africa would be perfect country were it not for the Blacks.

Thanks for looking in.


Shus li said...

Hi, Ridwan

The stats are not shocking at all. They are similar in the U.S. for Native Americans and Blacks.

In the U.S., placing Native Americans into positions of administration for health care and other essentials for federally recognized tribes (e.g. BIA positions) has not helped the grim life expectancy, infant mortality, and general morbidity rates among members of federally recognized tribes.

In my opinion, that is because these individuals, who may have actually had good intentions when they stepped into their positions, have been bought and sold just like every other person involved in governing this country.

It is the same everywhere, isn't it? Nation-states act to suppress aboriginal rights and to enforce implicit genocide upon indigenous folks. There is a big, money-driven, land-hungry, resource-consuming machine that rolls over everything "in" Nature. That includes trees, water, salmon, and humans who would dare to stay on their aboriginal homelands and possibly impede the "progress" of this machine.

Peace to you.


Ridwan said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment Shusli.

You are right that it is the same everywhere. In Namibia and Botswana there are 'processes' that are dispossessing Aboriginal people of their land and way of life.

It is the business of colonialism and the post-colonial reality that is vested in the nation-state as you say.

Very sad my sista.

Peace and struggle,