Australians giving up on Aborigines

2011-02-14 12:47

Sydney - Australians are losing interest in the plight of Aborigines, a survey found on Monday, days after the prime minister urged the country's indigenous people to take more control of their lives.

The Australian Reconciliation Barometer survey, gauging relations between Aborigines and their mostly white counterparts, showed a drop in the number of people who considered the relationship important.

The poll showed that Australians increasingly blame Aborigines, who suffer disproportionately high rates of disease, imprisonment, unemployment and alcohol and substance abuse, for their own problems.

The first such poll conducted since a government apology to Aborigines in 2008 for wrongs suffered since white settlement in 1788 found that those who saw relations as poor now outnumbered those who thought them good.

Less than half thought things were improving.

More than eight out of 10 respondents among the 1 220 non-Aborigines who took part said a lack of personal responsibility was to blame for the problems experienced by indigenous people, Australia's most marginalised group.

By contrast, most of the 704 Aborigines surveyed said lack of respect and inadequate living conditions, poor access to health and education, government failures and discrimination all played a bigger role in their plight.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard last week urged Aborigines to take greater charge of their own fate in her annual "Closing the Gap" speech, when she warned that government measures were not enough to lift living standards.

Those surveyed said Canberra's efforts to address the notoriously poor conditions for Aborigines, who have a life span up to 11.5 years shorter than their non-indigenous counterparts, were largely unsuccessful.

Australia's first inhabitants with cultures stretching back tens of thousands of years, Aborigines have gone from numbering about one million at white settlement to just 470 000 - less than 2% of the population.

  • rammstein.f4n - 2011-02-14 12:53

    If they don't want to change, leave them. Let them stick to their superstitions and simpleton lives. Help people who actually want to progress.

  • Ross - 2011-02-14 13:04

    The aborigines should by now have numbered 40 million. Lucky for us the Settlers came here with their missionaries and Bibles and the British went to Australia with their guns and longer guns. Both countries suffered outbreaks of smallpox during settlement.

  • nuclear - 2011-02-14 13:44

    Like the Aussies ever gave a damn about the natives!! That apology was lip-service and a century too late!

      Azurite - 2011-02-14 15:05

      bla bla bla...boring twit...keep living in the past

  • 2c - 2011-02-14 15:10

    Imagine the Aborigines @ 40 million and the Australians @5 million. Now imagine the Aborigines in power because of 1 man 1 vote. Frightening, and yet that's SA for you. Close the Gap speech, now why did Zuma not think of that 2.

      Barry - 2011-02-15 10:33

      Typical of white racist who is a South African maybe living in Oz. The issue here is about Aborigines not South Africans and yet you try hard to find a link. Why do some whites think that they are Gods's gift to mankind, when actually the world is worse off because of their ways ( so called civilization)

  • Deme - 2011-05-13 20:57

    The low number of Aborigines must be attributed to wholesale slaughter of this once proud people by the english colonists, with the idea "they're not human" and all the while criticising South African Bantu relations.

  • nick - 2011-06-22 08:43

    you mean like the people who beleive in a hippy guy and that capt cook guy well he didn"t last long in hawia

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