SYDNEY, Australia — Australia is one of the richest countries in the world today. According to TradingEconomics.com, it boasts one of the most well running economies as a well, it has averaged .09% growth from 1959 to 2013. Australia is also involved in a multitude of trade agreements with countries all over the globe.
In addition, Australia holds the 17th largest economy measured by purchasing power parity, which means it is about 1.7% of the world’s economy. All of these economic indicators give an indication that Australia’s poverty rate and number of impoverished people within its border should be at a minuscule level, if not almost completely poverty free. However, Australia is a nation divided.
The Australian Aborigines have lived on the continent since before the British colonization of the continent in 1788. However, since British colonization, the indigenous population of Australia has experienced a great deal of both inequality and hardships. The sheer number of areas where there are shocking disparities between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples are extremely telling of the real inequalities that still exist in Australia today.
The National Council of Churches in Australia is part of growing movement that is making sure that developed countries like Australia do not forget the portions of their citizenry who are not living up to 21st century standards. This is a much needed trend among many developed nations who still have portions of their population that are living at or below the poverty line.
In Australia, some indigenous peoples live at the same levels of poverty as the poorest people in Africa and Asia, according to the Secretary General of Amnesty International in a visit to Aboriginal outstations in Australia’s center in 2009.
The sheer number of areas in which Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians do not match up is truly staggering. The National Council of Churches published a study, which provided detail, and clarity about Australia’s clearly split nation. Life expectancy among Indigenous men is 67 years; this is 11 years lower than non-Indigenous peoples.
The Stolen Generation is one of the darker parts of Australia’s past, but also deals directly with many of the rifts and inequalities that exist between Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples today.
The consequences of the Stolen Generation can be seen today in the poor healthcare state of Indigenous peoples. The “Bringing Them Home” report that was conducted by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 1997 investigating the effects of the forced removals of indigenous peoples. Many Aboriginal children still suffer from a wide variety of issues as a result of being forcibly removed from their parents.
Children removed from their parents before age 11 suffered from depression, choice of an inappropriate partner and difficulties in parenting the next generation according to the “Bringing the Home” report.
The report goes on to cite one of its many confidential report of a girl named Jill, whom was removed from her parents at a young age, the effects on Jill were life changing. “She actually had some major trauma illnesses and trauma manifestations of institutional life evident in her life…and yet no one knew the remedy to it.” “Jill died because of those policies in law. She committed suicide. She was 34 and death was the better thing.”
This report is an eye-opening look into one of the more under-reported and overlooked parts of Australia’s past, present and future.
The effects of the neglect, abuse, and inequalities suffered on the part of the Aborigines of Australia are not to be overlooked or pushed aside. An article published by the Australian Broadcasting Network on February 12 stated that Indigenous woman who live in the territories are 80% more likely to be hospitalized due to assault than non-indigenous woman who live in the territories.
This is an overwhelming and shocking statistic.
The developed nations of the world seek to eliminate extreme poverty and hunger, as well as a host of other blights by 2015. In the overwhelming surge to ensure that developing countries are not left behind, those countries such as Australia who are in a position to do a great deal of good, need to make sure that they also look inside their own borders as well.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
– Arthur Fuller
Sources: Australian Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International, Amnesty International, National Council of Churches in Australia, Northern Territory Government, Crikey, Australian Broadcasting Network, Trading Economics
Photo: The Guardian