Justice targets are measurable goals which aim to reduce incarceration rates for Indigenous Australians. Their addition to the existing Closing the Gap targets, set collaboratively by all State and Territory governments, was announced in August 2013 by then Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin. This was a recommendation of then Social Justice Commissioner, Tom Calma in 2009’s Social Justice Report. How can this be a bad idea?
Perhaps this will get the message across to the people making barbaric policy that sees over 1000 kids seeking asylum behind bars in Australia’s detention centres, here on the mainland and also on Christmas Island and Nauru. A popular movement with respected figures from the sporting, film and television community has been launched with the slogan: We’re better than this.
The video below highlights the key findings from the 6th Productivity Commission Report into the wellbeing of Aborignal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage.
There is cause for hope that the improvements in child mortality, life expectancy, education and employment outcomes will continue to trend positively. However, it is still a major concern that statistics on chronic health problems, mental illness, community and family violence, illiteracy and rates of incarceration and interaction with the justice system remain unacceptably high for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Yet again ACOSS have delivered a worrying report quantifying the growing income disparity across Australia. Although its warnings are dire, little media attention has been given to its release or to National Anti-Poverty Week (Oct 12 -18 2014). I have to admit, I was all but oblivious. Thank you New Matilda for keeping us all informed of the important issues.
ACOSS have made it clear lately that the budget cuts will adversely affect many aspects of Australian society, with the burden of redressing the ‘fiscal incompetence’ of the previous government largely falling on low-income families with children.
Here is some food for thought for those of us in this little pocket of the world – Tweed Shire, Northern NSW – as we consider the theme of National Families Week and reflect on global trends in family-related policy this year, the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family.
On April 30th, Anglicare Australia launched its annual Rental Affordability Snapshot, highlighting the difficulties that low-income households face in securing affordable housing. Low-income families in regional areas were found to be virtually unable to find suitable housing on their budget, especially if they were single parents receiving Newstart Allowance. Anglicare Australia’s first key priority was “recognition of income inadequacy as a barrier to secure housing and meaningful social participation” (page. 5).
Caring about caring is a feminist issue.
Proceeding from the Harvester Judgement of 1907, basic working wages in Australia were essentially constructed to cover the reasonable needs of a family. This placed women and children in a position of dependence and women’s work was relegated to a space outside national productivity accounting. Working women were not offered the basic wage as social norms at that time expected that this was supplementing the husband’s already adequate wage. Women were actively prevented from many higher paid jobs, and maternity leave was irrelevant as women were expected to cease working once pregnant. In 1919, women’s wages were set at 54% of the male basic wage which only rose to 75% in the 1950s (Hearn 2006).
March 20 marks Tweed Shire’s annual Close the Gap event. I will be attending.
Close the Gap is a human rights movement, whereas Closing the Gap is a whole-of-government approach to addressing the discrepancies in health, education and employment status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian citizens.