Study highlights Opportunities & Barriers for Reconciliation
16 February 2009 at 3:11 pm
On the eve of the anniversary of the national apology, Reconciliation Australia has released a landmark study on how Indigenous and other Australians see and feel about each other.
The Australian Reconciliation Barometer is a national research study that looks at the relationship between Indigenous and other Australians. Designed to be repeated every two years, the Barometer explores how attitudes and perceptions affect progress towards reconciliation and closing the gap.
The study was conducted for Reconciliation Australia by social research company Auspoll who canvassed the views of 600 Indigenous and 1,000 non-Indigenous people.
Barbara Livesey, the chief executive of Reconciliation Australia says the themes coming out of the research highlight very significant opportunities since the national apology but also very real barriers that need to be tackled.
The main positive findings were:
– A majority of both groups believe the relationship is important and improving
– A strong belief among both groups that all Australians should know about Indigenous culture and history
– Many shared “Australian” values – each group is strong on family orientation, pride, an easy going nature and sense of humour
– A majority of non-Indigenous Australians would like to have contact with Indigenous Australians
– A majority of non- Indigenous Australians have taken steps to advance reconciliation in the last 12 months.
Other findings demonstrated challenges in the national effort to close the gap, including:
– Low levels of trust between the two groups
– We don’t recognise qualities in each other that we value in ourselves
– Non-Indigenous Australians don’t know what they can do to close the gap.
Livesey says there is a need to take advantage of the opportunity to educate and engage people at a time they’re clearly open to it and be realistic that lack of trust is a real issue – something that governments and everyone has to work on to get better results.
To read an executive summary, full comparative report and a short brochure with case studies go to http://www.reconciliation.org.au/i?cms.isp?page=841