Monday, February 9

Build trust and move ahead

    • Only 44% of the overall population believe that Indigenous people are open to sharing their culture with other Australians.
    • But 89% of Indigenous people say they are open to sharing their culture.

Reconciliation has a long way to go. The goodwill is there – but there's still an important problem. There's still too much misunderstanding and distrust between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians.

    • Only about 1 in 10 people feel there is a high level of trust in the relationship, with Indigenous people feeling this way about other Australians and other Australians about Indigenous people.

However, a survey released today shows many Australians would like more contact with Indigenous people. While just over half (58%) of Australians currently report contact with Indigenous people, more than three quarters (76%) say they would like contact in the future.

There is also a level of interest in helping disadvantaged Indigenous people, with more than a third of people (37%) expressing a wish to do so.

A critical finding is that only 20% of Australians say they know what they can do to help disadvantaged Indigenous people.

Overall, however, those of us who seek greater progress in reconcilation will be encouraged by the initial Australian Reconciliation Barometer, released today in time for Friday's first anniversary of the national apology to the stolen generations. Reconciliation Australia plans to repeat the survey every two years to measure progress.

Despite the misunderstandings and distrust indicated by the excerpts above (taken from the survey's Executive Summary), Indigenous and other Australians have much in common when they see themselves as family oriented, proud, good at sport, easy going, friendly, good humoured and welcoming.

Attitudes to one another differ more on values like co-operative, disciplined, hard working and respectful.

The Sydney Morning Herald's report this morning can be found here. As well as the executive summary, other sections of the Barometer report can be accessed through the Reconciliation Australia link above.

Of interest: The Australian's media section today says the National Indigenous Television Network has commissioned well-known human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC to run a new Hypothetical show. Closing the Gap. His panel will include Tony Abbott, Germaine Greer, Marcia Langton and "indigenous rapper Wire M.C." (perhaps one of you young fellas could tell me who he or she is).

It should be a lively show, to be broadcast on NITV this Friday, Feb 13 (anniversary of the Apology, remember!), at 8pm AESDT. as well as on some subscription and specialist channels. This report on the NITV website calls its broadcast an "exclusive premiere", so we city types without pay TV may get to see it later.

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