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Crikey says: the gap is still a sorry chasm

Have we really closed the gap? Julia Gillard has some sorry news. We speak to the doctors behind the AFL’s drugs scandal. The economy post-election: it’s Labor’s turn. Telstra slows you down to tackle illegal file-sharing. And is News Limited rethinking its paywall strategy?

I cannot conceal that these literacy and numeracy results are a source of personal disappointment. Last year’s optimism gives way this year to a starker realism.”

So said Julia Gillard in Parliament this morning as she released the latest “closing the gap” report on indigenous disadvantage.

It’s sobering stuff. Reading levels of year 3 indigenous students decreased in 2012, after improving between 2008-2011. On some indicators, less than half of indigenous students are meeting minimum standards. On employment, indigenous Australians are falling further behind the non-indigenous population.

It’s not all bad news: the government is on track to meet one target this year for the first time (enrolment of four-year-olds in early childhood education). And mortality rates of young indigenous children are decreasing significantly.

Most of our body politic is entirely distracted by the froth and bubble of politicians who may have done the wrong thing, or said something stupid, or been nasty about a colleague — the tedious three-year fall-out of a hung Parliament.

But this report is news, and it is far more important than who stayed in Eddie Obeid’s ski lodge. Addressing Australia’s shameful indigenous disadvantage was always going to be difficult; we should be talking about how to get back on track.

4
  • 1
    dazza
    Posted Wednesday, 6 February 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Hands up those who have NOT stayed in Eddie Obeid’s ski lodge!!
    But you are right, This closing the gap report is far more important. I just heard some pollie from north QLD bagging the PM over this because she doesn’t believe stoping/preventing alcohol reaching these communities would decrease any alcohol fueled violence at all, even when the PM had the statistics in front of her?

  • 2
    JMNO
    Posted Wednesday, 6 February 2013 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t it the tedious 3 years of Abbott as an Opposition leader? Intent not on keeping the Government honest, ensuring that legislation passed by the parliament is administered effectively, and putting forward policies as a viable alternative government, but on destroying the government by any means possible with the help of a compliant and unthinking media. Plenty of places operate quite effectively with a minority government and this minority government has been remarkably effective given the climate in which it has had to operate.

  • 3
    Jim Moore
    Posted Wednesday, 6 February 2013 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

    The ill-gotten wealth of the likes of Obeid and the rest of the thieving rich is by far the major reason why governments don’t/can’t fund the massive amount of resources that are needed to solve all of the problems that many Aborigines as well as non-Aboriginal poor people suffer from. To imply that they aren’t entwined is simply sticking your head in the sand.

  • 4
    Alex
    Posted Friday, 8 February 2013 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    Here! Here! Well said, Crikey!

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