In 2007 the first National 'Close the Gap' Day was held. In 2016 a 'Close the Gap' report revealed our indigenous peoples had a lesser life expectancy of 10 years and whilst they represent only 3% of the total population, more than 28% of Australia's prison population were aboriginal.
Why is it that the colour of one's skin is a greater predictor of going to prison than any other?
In 1992 Paul Keating as Prime Minister said; "We took their traditional lands and smashed their traditional way of life. We committed the murders, we took children from their mothers, we practised discrimination and exclusion; it was our ignorance and our prejudice".
Yet we are continuing to stall on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians ; a culture that is the longest of any in continuous existence, a culture of originality, spiritually and creativity like no other.
Astonishingly, our constitution makes no mention of indigenous Australians let alone recognizing them as the original inhabitants of this land.
"The last 200 years has not delivered social justice for our people", says Linda Burney.
Predictably, we again have cries from conservative Liberals and Nationals threatening to derail latest plans for Indigenous recognition, with Craig Kelly saying "It could detract from more important issues regarding Closing-the-Gap".
Obviously he has not listened or consulted with Indigenous groups as to what is 'important' to them and remains unaware that previous 'closing the gap' initiatives have been ineffective. Surely, this conservative stance will only serve to prolong the current status quo of discrimination, racism and exclusion.
Constitutional recognition will provide the beginning of new hope for indigenous people and restoration of their rightful identity.
This new initiative deserves full national support; then and only then will we see marked improvement in 'Closing the Gap' and a richer nation we will become.
"We must rejoice in their identity, fusing it with our own", said Mr Keating.
Ian Cooper, Cal Gully
Support Vision Australia
I am writing in regards to 'Radio Service in Doubt' by Tara Cosoleto in the Bendigo Advertiser on Friday July 12.
It's disappointing the Vision Australia's radio service is at risk because of the rigid NDIS payment structure.
I intend to raise this issue in parliament and call on the Federal Liberal Government to fund this vital service. Vision Australia's radio broadcasts important for social inclusion and community connection.
I support the Fund Our Radio campaign.
Lisa Chesters MP; Federal Member for Bendigo
Thank you to the Addy
Thank you for your wonderful article in today's paper "Fundraising group hopes new members can save it from closure".
We would like to thank Chris Pedler who correctly conveyed the message we wanted communicated and the excellent photo.
Thank you Bendigo Advertiser for your time and energy in representing all aspects of the Bendigo community and our local charity group.
Denise Bailie, Bendigo
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