At a glance
Spaulding: “The Uluru Statement from the Heart is an invitation from a representative group of Indigenous Australians, on behalf of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, to walk with them to reimagine our nation. It outlines a path towards recognising Indigenous Australians as a part of the nation’s constitution and seeks to do that in three ways.
“The first is through Voice to Parliament, promoting Indigenous Australians’ rights to self‑determination through treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Islander people.
“Next is truth, which calls for comprehensive truth-telling about Australia’s history and acknowledges the culture, strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“The statement is also an artwork that represents two creation stories of the Anangu people and the traditional custodians of Uluru.”
Measures of disadvantage
Viljoen: “Given the historical situation of [Indigenous] underrepresentation in the workforce and other things, superannuation contributions from First Nations people will always lag.
“In terms of homeownership – New South Wales, for example – in 2016, 42 per cent of Indigenous households in New South Wales owned or were purchasing their home, but for non-Indigenous people, the figure was about 65 per cent.
“For superannuation, there is still inequality between Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people. That will take years to rectify, because obviously superannuation is linked to income.”
Spaulding: “Only 49 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of working age are employed, compared to 76 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians. In capital cities, 59 per cent of Indigenous people are participating in the workforce. Participation drops as low as 35 per cent for Indigenous Australians outside of capital cities.
“The unemployment rate for Indigenous Australians is at 19 per cent, and that is nearly four times higher than what we see for non-Indigenous Australians.”
Viljoen: “The term ‘activism’ is a bit of a misnomer, because it is not about people outside of buildings picketing. This is not all we are talking about here – it extends beyond that.
“What we are trying for is to get organisations to recognise the societies in which they operate, their role in making sure that those societies are not exploited, and that there is no entrenched discrimination in those societies.”
CPA Australia perspective
Spaulding: “We are really supporting the continued pursuit towards reconciliation. We are supporting that we advocate for and involve our First Nations people and recognise them as a part of our constitution.”