19 September 2006


"How can it be that in this land of plenty, the average life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is 17 years less than for non-Indigenous Australians?" ask Australia’s Catholic Bishops in launching their recent Social Justice Sunday Statement "The Heart of Our Country: Dignity and justice for our Indigenous sisters and brothers".

"In a nation that enjoys a vibrant economy, where governments boast of their careful financial management, the question remains: why have we not been able to eliminate these dire circumstances from the everyday experience of many Indigenous people?"

The statement, issued twenty years after the historic address of Pope John Paul II in Alice Springs, recalls the themes of that address and points out that the challenges identified at that time still remain.

The full statement is available at the website of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council

It includes suggestions for becoming more informed and for individual, parish and community action such as support for the Make Indigenous Poverty History Campaign

The most recent edition of Ozspirit is also devoted to the theme of Indigenous Justice

Another practical response to this issue is to express your concern at the current threat to Indigenous Land rights posed by the recent government amendments to the Northern Territory Land Rights Act – an issue raised at the launch of the Bishop’s statement by Aboriginal elder Tom Calma – see the next item.

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