Media Release: Tuesday 28/06/11
The Only Intervention Needed
“The only intervention needed in the Northern Territory is an intervention in communication” Richard Trudgen, author of Why Warriors Lie Down and Die, responds to the news that the Gillard Government will spend six weeks in talks with Indigenous leaders looking for new ideas to deal with the disadvantage that Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory experience.
“The Government needs to turn away from paternalistic programs and deliver real programs that empower the first Australians.
Right across the remote areas of Australia Aboriginal people, who speak an ‘original Australian language’ as their home language, are cut off from life saving and life changing information that other Australians receive in excess.” explains Richard.
For most of these Aboriginal people, English is still a very foreign language, which means that a visit to or from government authorities, service providers, or a trip to the doctor or hospital is a frightening and confusing experience of powerlessness. For their children, schooling is traumatic, dumbfounding and demeaning; resulting in young people having no hope for themselves in a world they cannot understand.
Even in important meetings with government or other statutory bodies, these first Australians are forced to receive information in English. This means they do not understand what is being said and due process cannot occur. They are deliberately locked out of the modern information era, leaving them to fill hospitals, jails, rehabilitation centres and unemployment queues and remain living on the fringe of Australian society, at a massive cost burden to the Australian community.
These Australians need news, current affairs, general and personal information in a language they can understand. Let’s level the playing field. They could receive information through language centres and radio services. Whole communities could learn to speak English through ‘learn English’ radio programs. Information programs in their language will close the gap permanently.
“How can feeding children in schools, creating a generation of super dependent young adults, ever close the gap? Let’s spend the public purse on programs that will change things for the good by giving all Australians access to good information. An intervention in communication would solve so many problems far more effectively!”
This is one of the issues that Richard Trudgen, Witiyana Marika and Dianne Gondarra address in their Bridging the Gap seminar series, held in capital cities around Australia. The next seminars will be held in Sydney, Brisbane and Darwin in October and November. See www.whywarriors.com.au to register.
For more information or interviews please ring Richard Trudgen (08) 8987 1664