Monday, 15 February 2021
Questions without Notice
Apology to Australia's Indigenous Peoples: 13th Anniversary
My question is to the Minister for Indigenous Australians. Will the minister please outline the importance of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations and update the House on the Morrison government's commitment to working in partnership with Indigenous Australians?
Thank you, Member for Braddon, for your question. It's a good question, because I heard you this morning deliver a speech in this chamber and I saw the very affectionate and warm response from Dr Emma Lee, who is an Indigenous anthropologist. She appreciated the fact that you acknowledged the history of the past.
Member for Barton, when you were reading that extract out of the Bringing them home report this morning, what it made me do was reflect: what are we doing for young people? Your point is very strong in terms of cultural identity. At the girls academies, we've increased the number of places from 2,900 by an additional 2,700. That allows young women to come together within those academies to look at their academic pathways and, at the same time, share cultural strength and identity. We do the same for the Clontarf boys. Those programs underpin the ongoing credentialing into adulthood by the supportive nature that exists within them. In addition to that, it is about building hope and building an opportunity for them to go on to other places that they aspire to in their lives. I've been to many of them.
The Closing the Gap strategy this time round has a target on out-of-home care which will really test every system on the placement of Indigenous children taken to out-of-home care programs. Family violence—these are all key initiatives within closing the gap, but we are doing it on a co-design basis.
When the PM first said to me, 'You'll work with 50 organisations,' I frowned at him and said: 'You're asking me to do an incredible challenge. If you know the politics of our community, that's hard work.' But by co-designing we now have ownership between the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and Indigenous Australians. So it augurs well for the future.
We're working with SNAICC to develop an early childhood strategy, which I negotiated in early days with the Prime Minister. That is now bringing together the fundamental tenets of good early years in life and better opportunities.
We will continue to build on all of our work and continue to focus on the history of the past in order to make the future better. To all of you in this chamber, I thank you for the commitment you give to Indigenous Australians.