10,000 Indigenous lives at risk - Jeff McMullen AM
Unless Australia has a change of heart, the 10,000 Indigenous children born this year can order a tombstone that says 'born into disadvantage and died that way', according to prominent Australian journalist and commentator Jeff McMullen AM.
Speaking today at the University of Newcastle's 2007 Human Rights and Social Justice Lecture, Mr McMullen has called the Australian Government to task over its treatment of Aboriginal children.
In his speech, - 'Closing The Space Between Us - The Rights of Aboriginal Children' - Mr McMullen called the federal intervention in the Northern Territory "blatant discrimination" and said Australia was in a state of emergency.
"There is a genuine emergency in the heartland of this country," he said. "Closing the gap in education is our nation's most crucial challenge because without education, Aboriginal children will never find their way out of the maze of poverty and poor health.
"The intervention is a redemptive emergency hatched by a Prime Minister desperate to remove the stain on history of his government's institutionalised neglect of Aboriginal needs and rights.
"The Australian Government is using the emotive issue of child abuse to implement a radical Indigenous policy agenda."
Mr McMullen introduced a 10-point plan that draws together ideas and actions to improve the lives of Aboriginal children.
The plan includes the Australian Government providing the $500 million annual shortfall for primary health care for all Aboriginal children; boosting Indigenous education funding from pre-school to university; and apologising as a nation and as individuals.
Mr McMullen said implementing the 10-point plan would help to overcome the failure of Australia as a nation "to respect or acknowledge any of the universal rights of Aboriginal children".
Jeff McMullen AM is a journalist, documentary maker, author and humanitarian.
His career includes working as a foreign correspondent and on the programs 'Four Corners' (ABC) and 'Sixty Minutes' (Nine Network). He currently hosts 'Difference of Opinion' on ABC Television, a series debating some of the challenges and issues facing Australia today.
Mr McMullen is available for interviews on Friday 2 November.
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