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“The Gap”: Indigenous issues in 2014

The University of Sydney is just a few minutes’ walk away from Redfern Park, where Prime Minister Paul Keating once stood and declared shame on behalf of his country for the crimes committed against Indigenous Australians throughout history.  When Keating stood in in that park and claimed responsibility for these atrocities- admitting, at long last,…

Artwork by Emily Johnson. Artwork by Emily Johnson.

The University of Sydney is just a few minutes’ walk away from Redfern Park, where Prime Minister Paul Keating once stood and declared shame on behalf of his country for the crimes committed against Indigenous Australians throughout history.  When Keating stood in in that park and claimed responsibility for these atrocities- admitting, at long last, that “[w]e committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practiced discrimination and exclusion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice,”-many believed that Australia had arrived at a turning point in its treatment of its first peoples.

More than twenty years later, though, governments, individuals, and universities alike continue to fail Australia’s Indigenous population. This morning, we present a list of articles that look at just how far we still have to go.

  1. “The Long Haul”: fighting for autonomy and self-determination at the Redfern Tent Embassy

When the Redfern Tent Embassy was established earlier this year, it was widely perceived and reported as a specific response to plans to convert an important Indigenous site into student accommodation. But, as Justin Pen discovers, it’s actually about much more than that- it’s about a centuries-long struggle for Indigenous self-determination, resistance, and recovery.

  1. “Widening the gap”: the Australian government’s cuts to the Aboriginal Legal Service

Amongst the furore surrounding GP co-payments, petrol excises, and university fee deregulation in the aftermath of the release of the Federal Budget, little attention was given to cuts to the Aboriginal Legal Service.  Here, Georgia Kriz looks at why these could well be the cruellest of the Abbott government’s “savings measures”.

  1. Our family is dying young”: the human side of Indigenous  life expectancy statistics

We all know the horrifying statistics surrounding Indigenous life expectancy, but few of us have stopped to consider what it would be like to have so many family members pass away at such a young age. In this piece, an Indigenous student at USyd describes his personal experience of this national tragedy.

  1. “Lest we remember”:  whitewashing Australian history in our public art

Around the world, governments are beginning to recognise the need to commemorate travesties committed by their people, not just against them. In this feature, Matilda Surtees questions Australia’s failure to commemorate the crimes and losses suffered by Indigenous people on Australian soil in our public art.

  1. Uni failing Indigenous students

The University of Sydney prides- and markets- itself on its commitment to promoting Indigenous student welfare on campus.  But, according to Kyol Blakeney and Laura Webster, University management’s efforts to foster the Indigenous community on campus have actually undermined it.

     6.  Editorial: inaugural Indigenous Edition

2014 saw the production of the inaugural Indigenous edition of Honi Soit. In this editorial, its Editor-in-Chief Madison McIvor reflects on the importance of cultural and informational exchanges to break down barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

 

Illustration by Emily Johnson.