Aussie PM to reform 'failing' native affairs

Source:Reuters Published: 2020/2/12 18:23:40

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt (center) receives an applause during his oath-taking ceremony at Government House in Canberra on Wednesday. Scott Morrison was sworn in as Australia's prime minister after a shocking election victory over the Labor Party. Photo: AFP

Australia is on track to meet just two of its targets aimed at improving the lives of its indigenous people, including increasing life expectancy and improving literacy, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Tuesday.

In 2007, Australia introduced seven targets designed to address inequalities that see the country's 700,000 indigenous people track near the bottom of its 25 million citizens in almost every economic and social indicator.

But Morrison on Tuesday said Australia's government's policy is failing and will be replaced.

"We perpetuated an ingrained way of thinking passed down over two centuries and more, and it was the belief that we knew better than our indigenous peoples. We don't," Morrison told Australia's Parliament.

Morrison said new indigenous polices will be designed following consultation with its first people, with whom Australia has struggled to reconcile following hundreds of years of brutal segregation.

Indigenous Australians arrived on the continent at least 50,000 years before the British colonists, but are not recognized in the national constitution.

According to the annual report, child mortality is more than double that for non-indigenous children, and unemployment in the indigenous population is over 25 percent higher than the rest of the country.

"There is more than just a gap, it is a chasm, a gaping wound on the soul of our nation," said Pat Turner, chief executive officer at the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.



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