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Inequality to Aboriginal people in Australia Essay

As there are a lot of different countries in the world, there are also a number of different cultures as well as different races. In the presence of different peoples in one area or country, there is often a lot of racism, which leads to inequality to particular ethnic groups. For example, in Australia, since European people arrived there in 1788, they have discriminated against indigenous people, Aborigines (Kuhn, 1998: 30). The European invaders drove most of Aboriginal people out of the mainland, and furthermore, they took a lot of indigenous children from their families and forced them to work at white farms or stations.

They did not even consider Aboriginal people the citizen of Australia until 1967, and this continued in some states until 1980s (Yunupingu, 1997: 63-64). D’Souza (1999: 26) claims that what European people have done to Aboriginal people is a ‘genocide’, which can be defined as a crime against humanity. As time went on, Australian people seemingly started to recognize Aboriginal people’s human rights. However, today, there still seems to be a lot of inequality to indigenous people in Australian society. This paper will examine inequality to Aboriginal people in today’s Australia in terms of health and medical systems, education and employment.

The first and probably the biggest point about inequality to Aboriginal people in Australia may be concerned with health and medical systems. First of all, a lot of Aboriginal people have been facing a serious lack of provision of water and sanitation, because most of them live in remote areas. Furthermore, this lack of provision of these services has resulted in many unnecessary deaths of indigenous people. In contrast to this, non-indigenous people do have certain provision of these services. Furthermore, in spite of the fact that many indigenous people have complained to Australian governments about this unfair situation, the responses have been made by ignoring them, or by ambiguously saying to solve this in the near future.

Concerning medical services, it is true for Aboriginal people that services are often not available. The reasons for this may include far distance between them and hospitals, limited hours of operations or insufficient trained practitioners. However, non-Aboriginal Australians have very sufficient services as well as very effective delivery of services. The fact that the inadequacy of these services continues despite many studies of the cases and a lot of complaints means that Australian society has known these miserable conditions and also how to remedy them for a long time, but it simply has not acted (Pattel-Gray, 1998: 79-82).

As well as health and medical systems, inequality to indigenous people obviously exists in education. This inequality can firstly be seen by comparing the number of indigenous students and all students in Australia attending high schools. For example, in a study conducted by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADC), only 65.7 per cent of 15 year-old, 40.5 per cent of 16 year-old and 18.3 per cent of 17 year-old Aboriginal children attended high schools in 1986. In contrast to this, the number of all students in Australia attending high schools was much higher (90.1% of 15, 67% of 16 and 39.6% of 17 year-olds).

There seems to be some factors for such these big differences, which may include insensitive teachers, unsuitable curricula, lack of parental involvement and most importantly, racism. Racism is most likely to contribute to the increase in the reluctance of indigenous children to attend high schools. Another study carried out by the National Review of Education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples was even more frustrating. It shows that in 1995, the retention rate of Aboriginal students was same as what it was for all Australian students more than 20 years ago (Eckermann, 1999: 5).

Finally, inequality to Aboriginal people in employment exists manifestly in today’s Australian society. For instance, in 1981, in spite of the fact that Quantas, Australia’s national airline, had the total staff of as many as 13,000, only two Aborigines were employed. Furthermore, in the same year, no Aboriginal person was employed in any departments in Parliament House. Another study conducted in 1992 reports that only half chances of employment were given to Aboriginal women, compared to other women workers in Australia (Pattel-Gray, 1998: 64). As to income levels, Both Aboriginal men and women received much lower wages than non-Aboriginal Australians did. For example, in 1991, only 2.2% of indigenous people earned more than $35,000, whereas 11% of non-indigenous people earned more than this level (D’Souza, 1999:26).

As one can see, these facts may clearly indicate that the support of Aboriginal employment in Australia is very weak and, as the reports above are all very recent, that inequality to Aboriginal people in employment manifestly exists in Australian society even today. This can be maid even worth by the fact that Aboriginal unemployment in 1992 had become four times what it was in 1986. It can be said for these reasons that although the Australian business community has considerably developed, the development seems to be only for non-indigenous Australians (Pattel-Gray, 1998: 65).

In conclusion, inequality to Aboriginal people in health and medical systems, education and employment has precisely been examined in this essay. Firstly, Aboriginal people have been enduring very inadequate health and medical services. Although many indigenous people have died because of poor health conditions, Australian society has not acted enough at all. Secondly, education systems contribute to inequality towards Aboriginal people. There are clear differences between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in the number of those who attend high schools.

Finally, in employment, Aboriginal people have much more difficulties than non-Aboriginal people do. It is certain that non-indigenous people in Australia are reluctant to employ indigenous people. Australian society should be responsible for remedying these problems as soon as possible, and non-indigenous people must treat Aboriginal people as human beings because what non-Aboriginal people have been doing to Aboriginal people is unacceptable in terms of humanitarianism.


D’Souza, N. (1999) ‘ The politics of Aboriginal Children’s Services in Australia, Australian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 24, March, p. 26.

Eckermann, A. (1999) ” Aboriginal education in rural Australia’: A case study in frustration and hope’, Australian Journal of Education, vol. 43, April, p. 5.

Kuhn, R. (1998) “Rural reaction and war on the waterfront in Australia’: Class conflict, racism and efforts to break the labor movement in Australia’, Monthly Review, vol. 50, November, p. 30.

Pattel-Gray, A. (1998) THE GREAT WHITE FLOOD: Racism In Australia, Atlanta: Scholars Press.

Yunupingu, G. (ed.) (1997) Our Land is Our Life, Brisbane: University of Queensland Press.

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