Changing the debate - The Centre for Independent Studies
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Changing the debate

In light of the reduced debate around Change the Date, it is the perfect time to give attention to the issues that impact the lives of Aboriginal Australians in some of the most profound ways.

There seems to be no end to the Indigenous issues that regularly make headlines across the nation ranging from domestic and family violence, child sexual abuse, youth suicide, poor health, welfare dependency and poor education outcomes.

Vast amounts of tax payer funds are spent every year on addressing these issues, yet very little appears to be achieved in way of actual problem solving or ‘closing the gap’ as we now term it. A new approach toward problem solving is what is needed which prioritises fact over politeness and action over symbolism. Too many lives depend on this.

Nicola Bercovic’s article in the Australian highlighted that in the ten years between 2006 – 2016, 23% of partner homicide victims in Australia were Indigenous (another 22% were from the migrant community).

What is most apparent is that the traditional cultural drivers behind Indigenous family violence are being ignored by tax payer funded organisations responsible for developing strategies to reduce violence because they do not fit an ideological narrative.

The most popular ideological narrative argues that racism and colonisation are the drivers. This narrative exonerates Aboriginal perpetrators of violence as now they too are viewed as victims with less accountability for their actions.

As long as this narrative is bought by governments and as long as tax payer funded programs are not held accountable for lack of evaluation and measured outcomes, the billions of dollars each year will continue to uphold an industry built on the misery of Australia’s most marginalised citizens.

As tax payers and concerned fellow Australians we should all demand our financial contributions toward solving these ongoing issues be better spent where common sense prevails, the truth is prioritised and diligent evidence based research form the basis for problem solving.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander solutions cannot be reached without acknowledging the cultural drivers behind family violence and violence against women.