Indigenous Australians: The Struggle for Justice

When developing units of work on this particular topic the following learnings need to be considered:

  • On every available measure of social and economic disadvantage, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples record greater problems and enjoy fewer opportunities than the rest of the Australian population.
  • Employment. The overall rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander unemployment is almost two and a half times the national average. Many Aboriginal people employed find themselves in poorly paid, low-skilled and insecure jobs.
  • Education. The low employment status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples reflects in a large measure poor access to education and training.
  • Health. Across Australia (WA, NT and SA), in all age groups, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience mortality rates and premature mortality rates three times that of the total population. In almost all disease categories, the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is much worse than that of other Australians.
  • Housing. It is estimated that one third of Aboriginal families in Australia live in inadequate housing. An acute housing shortage exists for those desirous of having conventional housing and those who have special needs to accord with their traditional social organisation.
  • Law and Justice. The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody found that disproportionate numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are held in police and prison custody because of profound underlying socio-economic disadvantage. The rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander incarceration is more than 25 times the non-indigenous rate.