Reconciliation Barometer shows evidence of goodwill
Trust between non-Indigenous people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is still low and levels of prejudice are high but there is much goodwill for reconciliation. These are amongst findings from Reconciliation Australia’s latest Australian Reconciliation Barometer.
The recently released Barometer measures the progress of reconciliation throughout Australia across five dimensions of reconciliation; historical acceptance, race relations, institutional integrity, equality and equity, and unity.
The 2014 Australian Reconciliation Barometer shows that the vast majority of Australians believe the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians is important, however there is still evidence that the relationship needs work.
The CEO of Reconciliation Australia, Mr Justin Mohamed said, “it is incumbent upon each and every one of us; as individuals or as part of the corporate, government or community sector; to do more to reduce problems of prejudice and to improve this critical relationship.”
The Barometer also found that the general community is far less likely to agree that past government policies are responsible for the many forms of disadvantage experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today. This lack of historical acceptance stands as a barrier to achieving reconciliation.
Mr Mohamed believes that education is critical to engaging with historical acceptance. “Through education, we can build a better understanding of the past, leading to a brighter future together.”
The Barometer identifies that Australians are hungry for more knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. Eighty three per cent of Australians believe it is important to know about the history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures, and 77 per cent believe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories should be a compulsory part of the school curriculum.
The 2014 Australian Reconciliation Barometer shows that it is essential to the success of reconciliation, that we as a nation, understand and accept our shared history. Mr Mohamed said, “It is only when we accept our shared history that we will truly be able to harness the dimensions of reconciliation and in so doing reach our full potential as a nation.”
A copy of the 2014 Australian Reconciliation Barometer is available online.