We asked our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Team to give us their thoughts on the Federal Budget 2016, and to answer any questions you have today. Here's the team's Spokeperson Brooke Prentis' response:
In Malcolm Turnbull’s 2016 closing the gap speech he said, “We have not always shown you, our First Australians, the respect you deserve. But despite the injustices and the trauma, you and your families have shown the greatest tenacity and resilience.”
This budget once again showed a lack of respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Common Grace’s Aboriginal spokesperson, Brooke Prentis, was left uninspired and shaking her head with the only words being #thegapwidens. Brooke said, “How a government expects to close the gap with this budget that barely mentions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples continues to baffle me.”
Malcolm Turnbull said, “The Closing the Gap challenge is often described as a problem to be solved - but more than anything it is an opportunity.” This budget missed that opportunity.
As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples our heart continues to grieve for the loss of life far too young through child, youth and adult suicide, life expectancy gaps and prison incarceration.
What we hope for is a change of heart in Australians that they will grieve with us and call on the government to not just talk but show action through commitment and funding. We call on the government to not just say they respect us and over 60,000 years of continuous living culture but to show us that respect.
May God continue to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people the strength to continue our tenacity and resilience. . .to simply survive, and may our government open their ears, eyes, hearts and minds to our struggle to survive and our fight for justice.