Lost in the smoke and haze of the Victorian bushfires, and the wreckage of the financial crisis that’s lapping at our shores, lies the one year anniversary of Sorry Day. Somewhere on page seven, that is.
Our indigenous community is accustomed to having their problems plummet down the list of the government’s priorities, but when you re-watch our Prime Minister’s soaring rhetoric just one year ago to the day, it is striking how far indigenous issues have fallen off the front page.
Professor Jon Altman writes in Crikey today:
It’s interesting to contrast the immediate response of the PM to the concerns of Victorian bushfire victims about Centrelink’s bureaucratic insensitivity with the snail’s pace response to problems experienced by Aboriginal people in prescribed areas in the NT whose quarantined incomes have been unavailable to them over a period of days due to technical or bureaucractic bungles.
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Rudd’s rhetoric about closing the gap will remain empty unless what Professor Altman calls the “racism and human rights gap” is closed. Until indigenous people can expect to be treated like any one of us, sorry, a word which held such promise a year ago, will begin to lose its meaning.