Tag Archives: Apology

Community and Government Must Continue to Close the Gap

 

Elders at The  Apology Anniversary Event

Elders at The Apology Anniversary Event

In a ceremony to mark the second anniversary of the Federal Parliament’s apology to members of the Stolen Generations, the Archdiocesan Justice and Peace Commission called on all Australian Governments, the Church and the community to continue working towards closing the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians in health and education standards.

The ceremony organized by the Justice and Peace Commission, the Murri Ministry Team and Brisbane Catholic Education was held at Ngutana-Lui Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Studies Centre at Inala on Friday 12 February.

Aboriginal elders from around Brisbane, students and staff from several Catholic Colleges, and representatives of a number of parishes attended the ceremony.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisors are keen to continue holding the ceremony each year so that the Church and the community continue to be reminded about the need for on-going action to address the disadvantages experienced by the first Australians.

“The apology by the Parliament in 2008 was a very important step in healing the deep wounds of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, but it must be accompanied by a long-term commitment to ending Indigenous disadvantage in Australia,” Mr Arndt said.

“That is why we ensured that those attending the ceremony not only had a chance to listen to the Aboriginal elders talk about their experiences of discrimination and mistreatment, but also had an opportunity to learn about the problems faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the areas of health and education,” he said.

“It is our hope that students and parishioners will go back to their schools and parishes and encourage their communities to get involved in community action to promote better health and education standards for the first peoples of this land,” he said.

“The Prime Minister has now released his Government’s second Closing the Gap Report and it is pleasing to see that significant efforts are being made to reduce Indigenous disadvantage in a number of important areas such as life expectancy, child mortality rates, literacy and numeracy levels, and access to early childhood education,” he said.

“It is good that serious efforts are being made to measure progress in these areas, but also that increased funding for programs is being made available,” he said.

“But we all have a role to play in ensuring that there is genuine respect for and partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in these programs,” he said.

“Participating in special events like Close the Gap Day which will be on Thursday 25 March this year is one way in which Catholic schools and parishes can continue to be involved in action to promote an end to Indigenous disadvantage,” he added.

Health and Education Fact Sheet

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

 

NB  This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Mandate which enables it to speak in its own right when required.  The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.

Apology Anniversary A Time to Reflect and Commit

Media Release

Monday 9 February 2009

Sorry by Tony Albert Girramay/Kuku Yalanji people

Sorry by Tony Albert Girramay/Kuku Yalanji people

The first anniversary of the apology to members of the Stolen Generations by the Federal Parliament is an opportunity for Australians to reflect on our nation’s journey of healing and to commit to action which advances the cause of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, according to Brisbane’s Catholic Justice and Peace Commission.

The Commission is working with the Archdiocesan Murri Ministry Team to organize a celebration of the anniversary on Friday 13 February.

Brisbane community elders, members of the Stolen Generations, representatives of a number of Catholic schools and Bishop Brian Finnegan have been invited to participate in the celebration.

The Commission’s Executive Officer, Peter Arndt, said that the parliamentary apology was an immensely significant moment in the reconciliation process in Australia.

“The apology was greeted so passionately by many Indigenous Australians because it officially acknowledged their history,” Mr Arndt said.

“Acknowledging the mistreatment and the enormous hurt and damaging effects caused by it allows healing to begin,” he said.

“We can only acknowledge that history if we know about it,” he said.

“That is why it is so important that all Australians make a commitment to learn about the history and culture of the first peoples of our land,” he said.

“The Bringing Them Home report recommended education in the community, schools and within various professions about the Stolen Generations story,” he said.

“More needs to be done in this area, not so that people can feel guilty, but so that we all understand why there is so much hurt and disadvantage within Indigenous communities,” he said.

“Understanding and acknowledgement enable us to develop effective action to address the hurt and the problems and to get community support for them,” he said.

“Along with the apology, the Federal Government made commitments to act in a number of areas and it is pleasing to see that some progress has been made in the last twelve months,” he said.

“The commitment, in particular, by the Federal and State and Territory Governments to inject significant funding into efforts to close the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians is welcome,” he said.

“There is so much to be done and it won’t be easy or quick, but, with the on-going support of the Australian community, change for the better can happen,” he said.

“The Commission hopes that Catholic parishes and schools will continue to reach out to local Indigenous people and develop relationships which can be the basis for reconciliation,” he said.

For further information, please contact Peter Arndt on (07) 3336 9173 or 0409 265 476.

NB This release is issued with the approval of the Commission or its Executive under the provision of its Charter which enables it to speak in its own right. The views expressed in it do not necessarily represent the views of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane.