Honest Assessment Of Australia’s History is Crucial For Improving Indigenous Wellbeing

The Australian Democrats welcomed today’ statements by the Prime Minister that Australian students should be taught Australian history, particularly, Indigenous history, while warning that this history must be presented honestly.

"We are cheating ourselves as a nation and diminishing our future if we continue to put political correct blindfolds over the less pleasant aspects of our nations treatment of Indigenous Australians," Democrats’ Indigenous Affairs spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett said.

"Without an adequate appreciation of our nation’s history we are in danger of repeating mistakes of the past or addressing contemporary issues inappropriately."

"On the eve of Australia Day we tend to reflect on what it means to be Australian, but this has traditionally been an exclusive club. Teaching the full warts and all story of Australia plays a part in redressing some of those past wrongs and helps build a more positive future for all Australians."

"The Australian Bureau of Statistic’s report released today on labour characteristics of Australia’s Indigenous population, demonstrates that work still needs to be done to decrease the massive 16.8% unemployment rate seen in the Indigenous population."

"It can be strongly argued that this appalling statistic stems, in significant part, from the historical treatment of our Indigenous peoples. Employment is not the only area where many Indigenous people face greater hardships. Many Aboriginal health statistics are disgraceful, with high mortality and morbidity rates, poorly resourced educational facilities and low school retention rates."

"I agree with the Prime Ministers statement that ‘people are at risk of being disinherited from their community if that community lacks the courage and confidence to teach its history.’

"I remain concerned that the current Government keeps Indigenous Affairs tacked onto another portfolio, rather than making it the sole responsibility of a dedicated Cabinet Minister, but I look forward to action on ensuring Australias history is finally taught fully, honestly and impartially," Senator Bartlett said.

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