The Close the Gap Coalition is a group of Indigenous and non-Indigenous health and community organisations who – together with 200,000 Australians – are calling on the Australian government to take real, measureable action to achieve Indigenous Health equity by 2030.
Statistics show that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are significantly disadvantaged in their access to appropriate health care, housing and education, particularly those in rural communities. This is largely the result of decades of government inaction, and a continuing lack of access to appropriate services.
Uniting Church involvement
Racism, in varying forms and to various degrees is a significant issue in contemporary Australian society. At times, racism can be subtle, or well disguised, but contributes to the injustice and discrimination experienced by our Indigenous brothers and sisters. The social and psychological consequences of social and institutional racism are of great significance in our multi-cultural society.
In the first review of its constitution since 1977 the Uniting Church acknowledges in the new preamble that some of its members had acted towards Aboriginal people in ways that were racist and paternalistic.
What is the campaign?
The Recognise program is a movement which advocates for improved constitutional recognition of Australia’s first people and for elimination of racially discriminating policies.
The current Australian government has begun the reconciliation process through the 1967 referendum, which was updated to include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Australian citizens. However, this did not complete the task of securing equality, and two sections of the Constitution still permit racial discrimination by government. Furthermore, the Australian Constitution does not recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as Australia’s first peoples.
Uniting Church Involvement
“In 2015, the 14th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia agreed to support Constitutional Recognition as a “step towards and not a blockage to the larger issues of sovereignty and treaty.” The 14th Assembly also committed to work with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress to “educate members of the Church about the need for a treaty” and to highlight issues faced by First Peoples.”