Closing the Gap

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“Closing the Gap” is a commitment by all Australian governments in order to improve the lives of Indigenous Australians.

A national integrated Closing the Gap strategy has been agreed through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), the peak intergovernmental forum in Australia. COAG brings together the Prime Minister, State Premiers, Territory Chief Ministers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association.In addition, COAG has committed an additional $4.6 billion investment in Indigenous-specific National Partnerships to be rolled out over coming years. COAG has agreed to specific timeframes for achieving six Closing the Gap targets, relating to Indigenous life expectancy, infant mortality, early childhood development, education and employment.

For many people it has been deemed as a positive and long awaited acknowledgement and change and for others. Australia is a multi-cultural nation and we’re proud of that label. One of the initiatives set up by our Governments has been more assistance in employing Indigenous Australians in jobs to assist with the feeling of inclusion, self-esteem and better financial conditions.

It is now strongly recognised that Employers and their employees do some kind of Cross Cultural Training, in order to make the workplace a comfortable and understanding environment for the retention of Indigenous Employees. Jenny Joyce, A training and development officer at Signature Staff acknowledges the importance of this policy in stating “mentoring is also available for Indigenous men and women, to help when things get tough or when confusion sets in due to misunderstandings that happen in workplaces all the time”.

The government website: http://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/indigenous-australians/programs-services/closing-the-gap

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Aboriginal employment is a topical issue that ought to be more reported on in the media. However, racism in the workplace is also an issue that has slipped between the fingers of a frenzied media world. In observing Read’s work behaviour and ethics, and how she portrays herself around colleagues and customers, I am only lead to question deeper into her employment experiences. “You know it’s interesting, in each of my jobs in the hospitality industry, I am almost guaranteed to be regularly scrutinized, but in retail it’s like a different world, a much nicer world.” As Read wanders off to assist a troubled customer, I approach another employee to whom I was previously introduced to. In asking him several open questions, I was only received with positive responses. “She has got great high standards, she always presents well at work, she’s going into the defence force next year and has some really great goals. So I guess this is just a platform for her to move on to bigger and better things.”

As a descendant of the Wiradjuri Tribe, Read talks fondly of her family and her heritage. To believe that people think it’s okay to discriminate against someone because of their physical appearance and their ancestry is sickening. Lauren Read represents many young adults in the workplace from indigenous backgrounds that are not only racially abused, but refused work. This segregation is claiming opportunities for the indigenous population to make something of themselves. Those who have jobs but are pushed around and taunted are also faced with the ongoing battle of staying true to their identity and their ancestors.

I watch Lauren as she helps an elderly lady print out her photos. She comments on one of them “you have beautiful grandchildren, Ma’am”. Without generalising the indigenous population, many are overlooked in the workplace. A majority of them are hard-working, reliable and independent human beings and it is held strongly in my credence that this issue of unemployment and racism needs to be reported in current media.

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“I’m proud of my Aboriginal heritage”,  states Lauren Read  (18) as she restocks the shelves at Harvey Norman Warrawong. Read, an employee of Harvey Norman, recalls the racist taunts towards her Aboriginality at previous workplaces. “I’d get called pig nose, and often ask why I’m wearing shoes. Even my workmates made inappropriate comments.” In witnessing the anguish in her eyes, I also saw great pride and honour.

Aboriginal employment is a topical issue that ought to be more reported on in the media. However, racism in the workplace is also an issue that has slipped between the fingers of a frenzied media world. In observing Read’s work behaviour and ethics, and how she portrays herself around colleagues and customers, I am only lead to question deeper into her employment experiences. “You know it’s interesting, in each of my jobs in the hospitality industry, I am almost guaranteed to be regularly scrutinized, but in retail it’s like a different world, a much nicer world.” As Read wanders off to assist a troubled customer, I approach another employee to whom I was previously introduced to. In asking him several open questions, I was only received with positive responses. “She has got great high standards, she always presents well at work, she’s going into the defence force next year and has some really great goals. So I guess this is just a platform for her to move on to bigger and better things.”

As a descendant of the Wiradjuri Tribe, Read talks fondly of her family and her heritage. To believe that people think it’s okay to discriminate against someone because of their physical appearance and their ancestry is sickening. Lauren Read represents many young adults in the workplace from indigenous backgrounds that are not only racially abused, but refused work. This segregation is claiming opportunities for the indigenous population to make something of themselves. Those who have jobs but are pushed around and taunted are also faced with the ongoing battle of staying true to their identity and their ancestors.

I watch Lauren as she helps an elderly lady print out her photos. She comments on one of them “you have beautiful grandchildren, Ma’am”. Without generalising the indigenous population, many are overlooked in the workplace. A majority of them are hard-working, reliable and independent human beings and it is held strongly in my credence that this issue of unemployment and racism needs to be reported in current media.

A step into an untamed reality.

Before starting the BCM course at the beginning of the year, I was inherently neutral with the concept of how news is projected to us as an audience, who controls what we see/don’t see and basically just assumed what was put in front of me or what I heard was accurate. In studying International Media and Communication, the amount of times I have been shocked in the reality of what (global) media stands for is ceaseless.With each weekly topic, I have gained insight into the world of media in a way I believed ceased to exist. Though some topics didn’t particularly spark my enthusiasm or interest, it did become difficult not to subsequently ponder whether what I personally believed in. Was my beliefs a construct of my own judgments or has the media has subconsciously injected me with what they want society to believe? 

Prior to this year, I was at boarding school. This school only received ABC and SBS channels and was isolated on a 700 acre property. Therefore, my ability to gain access to the news was limited. In only coming home for school holidays and spending the majority of my time working and studying, the news I was receiving was still limited to The Project, or Sunrise. Taking this into consideration, it is no surprised I was utterly overwhelmed when I began the BCM course. I slowly began to highlight and develop my own opinions, and the two lecturers I have had have strongly assisted me with this. I have never placed any importance on what happens in the media, but now I understand that these effects surround me in day to day life. 

At the beginning of the semester, I was unsure about whether I should drop this subject or not, as I looked through the subject outline and some of the topics seemed dull and generic. However, the presentations that have been created to show in each tutorial has completely rejected my preconception. With the humorous clips and the fact that most groups incorporate the audience, I have enjoyed learning the content of this subject not only through the lecturer/tutor, but through my fellow class mates that have interesting insight and knowledge into what I previously was not remotely interested in.