What Is The Howard Government's Policy Of Practical Reconciliation

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The Howard government’s policy of “practical reconciliation” has been a failure on two substantial levels which resulted in failing to benefit Indigenous Aboriginals. First the policy ignores the significance of “symbolic reconciliation” which provides justice to Indigenous people. Second, the policy, although set out to improve the socio economic disadvantage experienced by Indigenous Australians, did not actually succeed.
The election of John Howard’s government in 1996 marked the beginning of a discursive shift away from the view of social justice which has been a target pursued by the Council of Aboriginal Reconciliation and supported by the previous Labor government. The new Howard government refused to accept the approach of previous …show more content…

He articulated in his speech in 1997 given to the Australian Reconciliation Convention that:

Reconciliation will not work if it puts a higher value on symbolic gestures and overblown promises rather than on the practical needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in areas like health, housing, education and employment … This practical, on the- ground approach will remain a primary focus of our policy making (Howard 1997).

The policy of “practical” reconciliation argued that the Government’s main focus in Indigenous Affairs should be to address Indigenous socio economic disadvantage, particularly in health, education, housing and employment. Howard defined reconciliation as that concerned primarily with improving Indigenous socio economic disadvantage, which was one of the three board goals outlined in the 1991 Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation Act (Cth), rather than symbolic acts of reconciliation, such as an apology to the stolen generations, national of land rights and formally recognising the Aboriginal flag. In an article written in 2000, Howard formally justified this new policy of “practical …show more content…

Finally, As Ring and Elston (1999: 231) argued, “the current situation [in funding for Indigenous health], where the Commonwealth is spending perhaps a fifth of what it should be spending on a needs basis, is a major impediment to effective reconciliation”. Altman and Hunter (2003) also questioned the effectiveness of the Howard Government’s emphasis on ‘practical’ reconciliation. They concluded that, “while practical reconciliation forms the rhetorical basis for Indigenous policy development since 1996, there is no evidence that the Howard governments have delivered better outcomes for Indigenous Australians than their predecessors” (Altman and Hunter 2003: v; see also Hunter and Schwab 2003: 94-96; Ross 2001: 155; Wyatt 2001: 181-182; Gunstone 2007). Therefore as the above evidence suggests, eleven years after the announcement of this “practical reconciliation” policy, Indigenous socio economic disadvantage

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