Let’s talk: Do we need to do more for Indigenous Australians?

A distressing report released yesterday has revealed that for many Indigenous Australians life has only got worse over the past
A report has revealed that many Indigenous people are struggling across the country.

A distressing report released yesterday has revealed that for many Indigenous Australians life has only got worse over the past two years.

The ‘Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage‘ report shows that over the past 15 years the rate of imprisonment for indigenous people has increased 77 per cent, and while the youth detention rate has decreased it is still 24 times higher than non-Indigenous youth.

Worse still, hospitalisations for self-harm has jumped 56 per cent over the past decade, while family and community violence remain high at 22 per cent.

So what are we as a country doing about it and should we be doing more?

There has been much talk about Indigenous Australians over the past few years and what can be done to help improve their quality of life and curb family violence, but by the looks of things in this report not enough has changed.

Indigenous woman and Alice Springs Councillor Jacinta Price spoke at the Addressing the National Press Club in Canberra yesterday and told the audience in harrowing detail about her own experience with family violence.

She told the story of a male family member who flew into a fit of alcohol-fuelled rage one Christmas.

“It escalated to the point where my father ordered the man to leave our family home,” Jacinta said.

“As he left, he took a fistful of his 18-month-old son’s hair and lifted him by his scalp until his arm was fully extended to the side of his body.

“He flung the toddler about in front of us all, including his 3-year-old daughter. He threatened to kill his son if his wife continued to disobey him.

“I remember the blank look in the boy’s eyes. He didn’t cry out. He dangled silently from his hair.”

With stories like this happening all over the country in Indigenous communities, should we be doing more to help?

Ongoing debate around people living in remote communities has caused friction over the years, with former PM Tony Abbott memorably being slammed for his comments that taxpayers shouldn’t have to fund those living there because it was a lifestyle choice.

Much of the difficulty around this issue comes from the vast divide between Indigenous people wanting to hold onto their heritage and politicians trying to drag them into a different way of life.

So how can we bridge the divide and make sure Australia’s Indigenous people are given the best opportunities? And do we need to step up our game and do more to help?

  1. The main problem is still that so many white Australians consider the indigenous population to be different.
    As my father taught me it matters not whether a persons skin is a different colour, they dress differently, worship a different deity or speak a different language they are the same as you.
    The way this country has treated the original inhabitants is nothing short of disgraceful.
    Perhaps if there were to be some genuine effort by some people in government who genuinely care we could actually change things for the better.

    • Pauline  

      Agreed – it breaks my heart and I’ve seen this stuff first hand. Poor poor people – so much disdain for them is hard to fathom.

    • RC Henry  


      Go and spend some time in Alice Springs, Mount Isa, Kalgoorlie, or somewhere else where people (mostly white) are bending over backwards to help indigenes become healthy and prosperous and you’ll find out why it doesn’t work.

      You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink!

  2. Guy  

    It really is a heart-rending situation effecting our indigenous Australians. Over 1000 programs implemented by the Government
    to improve their lives … but this Report indicates that only 34 of these programs have been even partially successful. Over $30 billion
    a year spent by the Government with a 3.4% success rate. What a shocking waste of the taxpayers’ dollars !!!
    The only sensible views/solutions on this major problem appear to be coming from Warren Mundine. Why oh why don’t the two major parties, showing some desperately needed bipartisan collaboration, agree to appoint Mundine as ‘Commissioner for Indigenous
    Affairs’ with full powers and total support to implement sensible and cost-effective reforms???

  3. Pat  

    Australia doesn’t need to throw even more money in to help with this problem. I think Aborigines of all differing “tribes” need to sit down together and get their Elders to bring back respect and old fashioned law and order. Nothing seems to be working at the moment.

    • Beverley Ackland  

      I agree with this. Don’t matter what colour or creed you are, manners and respect or lack of is the big problem with most lawbreakers and anti social behaviouralsts. Keep giving handouts and the perpetrators will keep erring to get more and more and more.
      Alcohol and drugs use is up to the user and I am sure if manners and respect and family values were displayed during a child’s upbringing a little more strictly than it is, the problem would be less.

  4. yvonne stengel  

    treat them the same as white people i know for a fact being idiginious you get more money more benefits come on all people are equal treat them the same dont feel dorry for them

  5. yvonne stengel  

    treat them the same as white people i know for a fact being idiginious you get more money more benefits come on all people are equal treat them the same dont feel dorry for them

  6. Keith  

    Get a job and I will respect you, live off wealthfare and you are nothing to me.
    Its a fact of life, you have to earn your lifestyle if you are middle or working class, the rich bastards get it easy, the rest of us work for it.
    Race,. colour has nothing to do with it, earn a respectable wage and respectable people will side with you..

  7. Keith  

    Get a job and I will respect you, live off wealthfare and you are nothing to me.
    Its a fact of life, you have to earn your lifestyle if you are middle or working class, the rich bastards get it easy, the rest of us work for it.
    Race,. colour has nothing to do with it, earn a respectable wage and respectable people will side with you..

    • Guy Flavell  

      But Keith, our Aboriginal communities in remote Australia just don’t have employment
      opportunities readily available. They are less than 100 years out of a ‘Stone Age’ existence,
      many are fringe dwellers, are illiterate and innumerate and with absolutely no positive attitudes to employment or properly educating their children. WE MUST HELP THEM !!!

  8. Jonathon  

    Way too much is done for them already!

    They don’t want to help themselves, are lazy, & breed to get Centrelink funds.
    Then those spawn become criminals’.
    Look at what happened at Aurukun a few months’ ago.
    Look at the rioting by youths’ in Townsville.
    Look at the problems’ in Mt Isa, & any other city where mobs of them gather.

    Can’t do much with people with the lowest IQ, 58, of any humankind.

    No wonder they play football, no ‘brainpower’ needed to kick a ball around a field, AND they get obscene amounts’ of money to do so.
    They then use that money for grog, & drugs’.

    Hopeless cause.

    • Guy Flavell  

      That post just has to contain THE most racist and bigoted comments ever seen on SA60.
      YOU SIR, ARE A DISGUSTING DRONGO !!!! I sincerely hope that one of our indigenous
      readers lodges an official complaint against you under section 18c of the Racial Discrimination Act … and I pray that you are charged under same.

      • Wiso  

        And you Guy Flavell ARE AN IGNORANT DRONGO !!! How can telling the truth be racist or bigoted ??

        • Guy Flavell  

          No Wiso, you’re wrong about those comments made, ie:
          “lazy and breed to get Centrelink funds”
          “those spawn become criminals”
          “the lowest IQ, 58 of any humankind”
          “no brainpower needed to kick a ball around a field”
          “use that money for grog and drugs”
          This is just straight-out ‘insulting’ and ‘offensive’ racial abuse under the Act
          and should be publicly admonished.
          If you think that blanketing the entire indigenous population of our country in
          this loathsome manner is justified … then I feel very, very sorry for you.

          • Jonathon  

            They’re all FACTS!

            Look them up!

            List ALL the indigenous who’ve made this Country ‘ great’, & their feats’, Guy!

            I’ll give you some help!

            They built cities’, bridges’, railways’, hospitals’, roads’, schools’, houses’, dams’…..NOT!
            They put in place infrastructure for all the above….NOT!

            All that they have is thanks only to the ‘whitey’. Full stop.

            If they don’t like it, they should return to their ‘old ways’, & forget about Centrelink funds!

      • Janis  

        Like posing threats’ do you ‘big’ Guy?
        Could come back to you, & bite where it’ll hurt.

        • Guy Flavell  

          Sorry Janis, don’t do threats. Love to know where you dreamed that one up ?

          Golly, this SA60 article has dragged some pretty awful bigots out from under their rocks. Don’t these people have any regard whatsoever for the obvious needs and problems that face our remote indigenous Australians ? Or is it just the colour of their skins that honestly offends them ?

          Janis, how about some positive solutions for this dreadful problem, rather than aligning yourself with irresponsible and hurtful racist taunts ? Deep down, I’m
          sure that you’re a much better person than this.

          • Duncan  

            Why don’t YOU put your ‘money’ where your BIG mouth is, & contribute to the sorting out of the indigenous ‘problem’?

            Minds’ greater than what you seem to possess, are trying, but not succeeding.

            You could give ’em a hand.

    • Valma  

      You know that’s right it’s not that indigenous people don’t get looked after believe me I lived in mt isa for 16tears in the same street as the reserve the had new houses built 3doors from me 6houses with in 1year they had racked them burnt the doors off the rooms had fires on the floor in the lounge cut holes in the fences because they were to lazy to walk through the gate we had a lot of trouble with the lake Nash blacks pinched every. Thing they could so don’t try and tell me they are hard done by they get plenty I have friends that are black in Townsville they are good people I went to school in garbutt and half the kids were black the Tallis Stanley’s nagar priors they were all good people but now I can’t say the same for this next generation

  9. Pamela  

    Why is it a ‘white’ fault when a black person commits a crime?

    Aboriginals have said they want to deal with their problems their way, not our way!

    So do it!

    Whites are damned if we do; damned if we don’t!

    And if you check government figures/numbers aboriginals already get more benefits and at a younger age than the rest of us! e.g. 50 years old instead of 65 years old for many health benefits.

    Then their is Abstudy at higher rates than Austudy. And specific aboriginal/indigenous services despite all other services being inclusive of all races. e.g. Community Transport services and Aboriginal Community Transport services.

    • Jonathon  

      Yes, very true, Pamela, it’s everybody else’s fault, but their own!

      They take NO responsibility for anything, unless it’s to put out their hands for the dole!

      Anything they get from the ‘whitey’ they sure as hell don’t appreciate!

      Stop all the financial handouts’ to them, & they’d riot!

      So few are worth the effort.

    • Guy Flavell  

      Oh Pamela, do give our indigenous Australians a break. These people are less than 100 years
      out of living a ‘stone age’ existence. THEY REALLY DO NEED OUR HELP !!!

      • Jonathon  

        And YOU really ARE an idiot!

        2016-1788 is more than 100 years!
        Failed Maths at School, did you Guy?

        Have you travelled throughout this Country, Guy, to see various situations’ at first hand?
        Bet not!

        Your abuse is disgusting, as what was written is factual, & can be easily checked, if you’re interested.
        I doubt you will as you seem to go off ‘half-cocked’ with your various comments’, many times, with no knowledge of the subject matter at all!

        Have you lived with indigenous? Did you attend School with them?
        Have you had them in your employ?
        I would suggest the answer is ‘no’ to all of the above!
        I have, over many years’.

        Are you SO thick, & ignorant, that you don’t understand that the only ‘help’ they want is the MONEY, & associated ‘discounts’ they get from us?

        It’s blatantly discrimatory that indigenous get rebates’ on practically EVERYTHING years’ before white Australians’ do.

        It’s called ‘reverse racism’, Guy, & comes under Section 18c, too.
        And it’s been happening in this Country for decades’.

        I’ll give you an excellent example:

        I travelled though Normanton, in the early ’80’s.
        I was told at then that it takes 4 MONTHS’ for an aboriginal to get public housing.
        For a white Australian that wait-length increases to EIGHT YEARS’!

        I could give you several other examples, which I’ve seen, as well.

        The situation’s probably worse, now.

        • Guy Flavell  

          Jonathon, 1997-2001 lived in Alice Springs and managed a construction
          company building transportable homes we installed in remote indigenous communities.
          Also employed, as a condition of our Government contracts, some 40-50 Aboriginal staff. Found them to be excellent workers ONCE fully trained. I could
          trust my indigenous foremen completely to supervise construction and to
          complete each job on time and budget.
          To win these contracts I had to spent months learning all aspects of indigenous
          culture and lifestyle. I guarantee you I could ‘play you on a draw’ with regards to
          this knowledge … and then some.
          If you’d spent the time I have in remote communities you’d realize just how close
          to a ‘stone age’ existence these people actually lead …especially the more fringe dwellers. In actual fact, my “less than 100 years” was probably an exaggeration …
          it’s far closer to 50 years.

          I freely acknowledge that they have huge differences in their culture that may well seem strange to many other Australians. And yes, they don’t enjoy a ‘heritage’ of
          accomplishment that we do … to be honest, very little. We keep throwing
          $billions whilly-nilly at the problem for close to nil results. Who can blame the illiterate and largely uneducated remote Aboriginals for accepting these “whitey” handouts/conscience money … I bet you would too, given half a chance.

          It really is a blight on both the main political parties who, considering their own much-vaunted intelligence levels, should be able to cost-efficiently solve these
          problems for the betterment of ALL of our remote indigenous people. If only they believed in ‘true bipartisanship’ and stopped ‘politicking’ this awful situation … we
          may just see some worthwhile results ?
          Jonathon, it really is a ‘white’ Australian problem and needs to be addressed by all
          of us that don’t wish to condemn our indigenous people back to the ‘stone age’.

        • Guy Flavell  

          Wassa matter Jonathon ? ‘White fella’ got no answers to fixin the problems ?
          Mate, TRY to think positively about this awful situation rather than post disparaging
          comments. Who knows, you may just have something useful to contribute ?

          • Ivan Ransom  

            Good on ya Guy ! I’ve been around been around different mobs over the years and around indigenes in North America and Pacific Islands and their problems come down to a simple set of facts: Australian Aborigines have had their culture destroyed and the substitute European culture has given them Alcoholism and drugs, violence and exploitation and the bottom rank of the caste system. Who wouldn’t be a failure in such circumstances ?! Who wouldn’t drink themselves to death or top themselves ? We whiteys forget that English “culture” went through this phase in the Eighteenth Century where it was “Drunk for a penny and dead drunk for tuppence” and the answer to unemployment was a 20-hour day, six days a week , no holidays, people dying of starvation with a government which solved its social problems by mass hangings and pointless wars ! Aborigines deserve respect, whether we think they have earned it or not. The constant niggling and pettiness about Aboriginal Land Rights is just more of Lord Vesty and it is foreign to the Dinkum Aussie and the spirit of “Fair Go”. As to government hand-outs, the system which has beggared them owes them. To end my outraged rant I would observe that if the merest fraction of private contracts for aid to aboriginal communities were conscientiously honoured instead of succumbing to naked greed, there might be some more happy results.

  10. Guy Flavell  

    Ivan Ransom, that is THE best comment I’ve ever read on this awful situation
    in remote indigenous communities. Well done, Mate.

  11. RC Henry  

    The greatest obstacle facing the indigenous is that many of them do not take up the overwhelming number of opportunities available to them. I’m talking about traditional Aborigines, not those who are mixed-race and live in better circumstances in suburban Brisbane or other cities and latch on to university grants, advanced promotion, career development etc. They are doing quite okay.

    The Aborigines in the bush are the ones experiencing difficulty. While there are literally tens of thousands of people, nurses, doctors, police, social workers, backpackers, do-gooders, teachers, and a cornucopia of others helping them, they are not helping themselves to the extent they could be. For example, while everyone knows that education is the route from poverty and to a nice life, many communities have difficulty getting kids to school. When they come, they don’t stay.

    Medical appointments are missed regularly and nurses and midwives have to telephone around trying to find where people are and encourage them to attend clinics. Prescribed drugs are found thrown in the gutter outside the hospital because it’s “White Man’s medicine”.

    Billions of dollars are being spent trying to help Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, but the greatest challenge is getting them to maximise their uptake of opportunities available. It’s indeed very sad, especially that so many young people are so disheartened they are taking their lives.

    I believe the solution can only come from within.

  12. Terri Rice  

    Absolutely not. The rest of us are already subsidising them all. They breed like feral rabbits to gain more benefits & show no interest in participating to help pay their way. Show me a percentage of them who are doing the right thing & paying their own way & I might then apologise for my comments. Also before all the do gooders start re it being their country in the first place – remember that most countries in the world have been taken over in the past many centuries – even the English monarchy is really German – but changed their name to Windsor for political reasons.

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