When we look back over Australia’s history, the harsh reality that our nation removed an entire generation of Aboriginal children from their families should be a lesson that is never repeated.
In 2008, when Kevin Rudd made his historic apology to the Stolen Generations of Indigenous Australians, he envisaged ‘a future where this parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again.’
It is happening again, and it is happening now.
Since that speech, the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who are being removed from their families and placed in state care has surged at an appalling rate. Today, over 15,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids are living disconnected from their families – they are nine times more likely than non-Indigenous kids to be removed from their parents.
The causes of this are complex and the consequences are even more profound: devastating families; deepening intergenerational trauma; too often severing children’s cultural bonds and triggering poor life outcomes; and eroding culture and community.
These problems may seem huge, and difficult to change. But there are solutions – and they’re being led and championed by the very communities most affected.
Over the coming weeks, the Family Matters campaign will be highlighting the fundamental issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Most importantly, we’re working to shine a light on the disconnection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from community, culture and country.
We’re working with the Wheeler Centre to explore the causes of child removal. We’ve partnered with the media to bring readers the true stories of children, parents, mothers and families affected by this crisis. We’re working with institutions such as Victoria University and Swinburne to explore the cultural impacts of removing a generation from their culture. We’re taking over public spaces around the country to show how import it is to maintain connection to culture for our children. Check out the full list of events occurring around Australia.
Families, communities and Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander leaders are telling us the solutions – we just need governments to act. We need an approach that trusts and empowers Aboriginal communities, one that includes genuine collaboration and partnership, empowers communities and involves long-term government support across the country.
Join our national campaign to achieve these aims, and ensure that another generation of Australia’s First People can grow up safe, cared for and with a strong understanding of their own culture