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Time for Abbott to live up to his words
February 18, 2014
Why Australia has the good therapists it deserves
February 20, 2014

The bridge to optimism

‘Five reasons to be optimistic that Abbott can close the gap’, by Michael Gordon in The Saturday Age, 15 February, 2014

Noel Pearson says, “we are at the turning point with genuine grounds for optimism”.

Gordon says there are five reasons to be optimistic:

  • – Abbott has more on-the –ground experience in remote communities than any of his predecessors.
  • – The tone of Abbott’s Closing the Gap speech, including the emphatic assertion that the objective of affording Aboriginal Australians the same opportunities as others is beyond politics.
  • – The new target with bipartisan support of closing the gap on school attendance.
  • – The level of consensus on policy and progress made under Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin.
  • – The gentle revolution that has taken place in the thinking of business where business believes it has a crucial role to play in closing the gap on employment. As Marcia Langton on the review team of the indigenous jobs and training review headed up by Andrew Forrest said, “We’ve never before had the private sector demanding change in government policy so they can create an indigenous workforce in their own business”.

Noel Pearson says, “We are not just spectators here! The challenge for Abbott will be to put in place a relationship between government and indigenous people that empowers our people to be jointly responsible with government for the outcomes”. Pearson noted the indigenous voice was on the periphery last week during the sixth anniversary of Kevin Rudd’s apology and the Closing the Gap report.

Grounds for optimism seem to be well-founded, notwithstanding the need for joint indigenous and Australian decision-making at the political table of bipartisan support. It is important to recognise grounds for optimism. Optimism can inspire hope and build from the past of dispossession and the present of despair and bridge to a future of equal partnership and governance and opportunity. As Brian May says, The biggest emotion in creation is the bridge to optimism.

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