Break the cycle of disadvantage (Published in the 'Mail' newspapers in May '04)
We should not be surprised that years of hopelessness, frustration and rage have boiled over at Redfern.
The life expectancy for Aboriginal youth is 20 yrs less than for our children.
Only 33 per cent of indigenous youth complete schooling compared to the national average of 77 per cent.
The unemployment rate is 38 per cent and young indigenous people are 21 times more likely to be incarcerated.
These figures have remained substantially unchanged for the last ten years.
So much for Prime Minister John Howard's "practical reconciliation".
Even where we acknowledge the rights of Indigenous Australians we fail to follow through with appropriate action.
As Rosemary Neill demonstrates in her excellent and disturbing book 'White Out', the right to self-determination is hollow theory if it is not supported by recourses and education.
Worawa, the only registered school in Victoria owned and run by Aboriginal people for Aboriginal youth, is an example of the potential for the capacity of education to break the cycle of disadvantage.
It provides excellent mainstream education and builds self-esteem in a non-threatening, culturally supportive environment.
Yet the college remains severely under-funded because governments, both state and federal, can't manage to adjust the funding formula to the fact that most Aboriginal parents are not able to pay school fees.
How long are we going to take action to give young Aboriginal Australians some hope for the future? Syd Spindler
Friends of Worawa
'Bolt at it Again' Herald Sun 11/02/04 - Graeme's Response
Bolt's Aboriginal 'bashing'
I am disgusted that you persist with Andrew Bolt's inflammatory and flagrantly untrue racial material. See article 11/02/04. It is incredible that on the day that you publish a wonderful rounded lift-out on our Indigenous people, he writes in such a disparaging way. The put downs started with 'looks like they were drawn by a year 12 student'. Same thoughts on 'Blue Poles'? Then he refers to 'massacre mongering'. History has recorded tens of thousands of Aboriginals slaughtered in 200 years. Read 'Blood on the Wattle' by B. Elder. It appears that Aboriginals are the 'political dogs receiving Museum money'. He claims race has been put before talent, so why does the NGV include Inca and Chinese art? He alludes to the 'myths' of stolen children, starving blacks in the 60's & 70's, floggings by whip-wielding whites and oppression and discrimination since Federation. I call on Bolt to criticize the art according to taste and both of you to stop feeding racism. Graeme Dawson - sickened white advocate.
Andrew Bolt in his article in the Herald Sun on the 20th of October revealed a side of Australian thinking that makes my skin crawl. As a 'God' man, I am constantly caused to think of what Jesus requires of me in response to this journalism and I am drawn to the way Jesus constantly reacted to the injustices of His time with regard to the poor, the downtrodden and the despised.
To view the article go to www.heraldsun.com.au and follow the prompts. (You may need to register to get access to the actual article)
The following is my response submitted to the H/S on the on Oct. 21-2003. It was acknowledged but not printed.
I was enraged to read Andrew Bolt's article in your paper on the 20th Oct. re. the 50th anniversary of the first atomic bomb testing in Australia. I declare my interest as a sixty one year old former affluent middle class white who is now a voluntary Chaplain invited to play an integral part of an Aboriginal College. Obviously Bolt knows nothing of the real alienation and struggle that the Indigenous people of our land have. To be invaded, dispossessed and have their living conditions so polluted over two hundred years and deal with the repercussions of those issues daily is something most of us cannot comprehend. Note, Bolt has no doubt that Nance Haxton is not a liar and the Government records can't be wrong so he dumps the load on an Aboriginal woman and her community. He bags the validity of her oral history yet I, and I'm sure he too, remembers our childhood like it was just yesterday. For that matter the Christian Gospels were only written down one hundred years after Christ because the original eyewitnesses were starting to die off. To throw the stolen question in for good measure was also a despicable act. The book at my bedside currently is 'Blood on the Wattle' by Bruce Elder. It's a compilation of recorded massacres of Aboriginals throughout Australian history. On the basis of this let's not talk about reconciliation, we were never together in the first place. Conciliation, repentance and restitution is what is needed. How will we ever achieve the trust as a seed bed for that when Bolt says, Haxton is a victim of the lies of a decaying culture. It's shattering enough for the victims of the holocaust to be victims of the historian's war, but now Bolt wants to inflict the ultimate pain on the survivors of one of the proudest and gentlest races on earth. Pastor Graeme Dawson - Yarra Valley
The following article was from the Herald Sun on the 16th of December. What do you think?