Thursday, September 24, 2009

New poll delivers scathing verdict on Government’s handling of Indigenous policy

The Nielsen survey was conducted nationally from 13-15 August with 1,400 respondents aged 18 and over. Here are the results:

*70 percent of Australians believe improving the living conditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be a high or very high priority for the Federal Government.

*Besides, 58 percent said Australian politicians do not know enough about Indigenous history and culture to develop effective policy for Indigenous people.

*According to 36 percent, the Federal Government was doing enough to close the health, housing and educational gap between Indigenous and other Australians.

*Moreover, another 57 percent felt that the living conditions of some Indigenous people is negatively affecting Australia’s reputation overseas.

Access to such services is a fundamental human right.

“Just last week the United Nations said once again that Australia was not living up to its international human rights obligations regarding Indigenous people,” said Rodney Dillon.

The UN Special Rapporteur-Professor James Anaya- on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of Indigenous people noted that a more holistic approach and a real partnership are needed to effectively address Indigenous disadvantages in this country and to ensure direct participation of Aboriginal people in the design of policies and programs that affect their lives.

“The Amnesty International opinion poll clearly reinforces the findings of the UN Special Rapporteur and makes it clear that the Government has to use a new approach to addressing Indigenous issues in this country,” said Rodney Dillon.

For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Michael Rose,
Manager, Media and Public Affairs,
Amnesty International Australia.
02 8396 7620, or 0417 370 502

Roxanne Macara,
Media and Public Affairs Coordinator.
02 8396 7644

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