God I hate this deliberate dishonesty about blacks

Gillard has actually made a great leap forward below in recognizing that Aborigines have a responsibility towards themselves. The usual Leftist propaganda is that it is all whitey's fault.

But the failure to recognize that Aborigines are born different is still poisoning the well. The poor old boongs CAN'T behave as whites do. It's not in them. They have neither the motivation nor the abilities. The way they live makes perfect sense to them even if whites throw their hands up in horror over it.

Aborigines have their own remarkable abilities and attitudes but they are not ours. They deserve respect for what they are but they will never be us. They are brilliantly adapted to their original lifestyle with observational and other abilities that can only make us gasp -- and it is no fault of theirs that we have radically changed their environment into something to which they are not well suited.

And the description of the pleasant young woman below as "indigenous" is just a slap in the face to real Aborigines. She is quite clearly about as indigenous as I am, even though she may have a small degree of Aboriginal ancestry. What sort of a message is it sending to real blacks when such a person is held up as an ideal to them? An ideal that they CANNOT aspire to?

I could say a lot more but I know I am already pissing into the wind. Abos are in general friendly, sociable and very polite people. Let them run their own race!

Jasmine Miller

Julia Gillard has appealed to indigenous Australians to change their behaviour to reach a position of equality with white Australians on a range of measures, declaring it will be extremely difficult to close the life-expectancy gap by the target year of 2031 with current progress.

Presenting the third annual Closing the Gap report to parliament yesterday, the Prime Minister said there was no chance the target would be met sooner and she would use the government's Closing the Gap initiative as a "call for changes in behaviour".

"A call to every person, to every family, to every community: to take care of your children; to take a job when you find one; to create a safe environment; to send your kids to school, pay your rent, save up for a home; to respect good social norms and to respect the law; and to reach out to other Australians," Ms Gillard said. "If I speak strongly, it is because I have listened to indigenous people who do these things already. People like Chris Sarra . . . people like Noel Pearson."

The report details progress in six target areas set down by the Rudd government in 2007 to reduce disadvantage in health, education and employment.

Improvements in immunisation and access to healthcare have meant the target to halve infant mortality rates by 2018 were on track, the report said.

Another target -- providing education to four-year-olds in all remote communities -- could be met within five years. There has also been improvement in three other targets -- halving the gap in reading, writing and numeracy achievements for children by 2018; halving the gap for indigenous students in Year 12 attainment rates by 2020; and halving the gap in employment outcomes between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians by 2018 -- but more needs to be done.

Eighteen-year-old Jasmine Miller, who was raised by her grandparents in Ceduna on the west coast of South Australia, was one indigenous student who finished Year 12 last year after gaining a scholarship.

This year she will be a full-time tutor at a school in Alice Springs and next year she will start a Bachelor of Education degree at the University of South Australia to become a primary school teacher. "Being raised in a small town, I want to give back," she said of her decision to work as a teacher.

Kevin Richardson, the principal of the high school Ms Miller attended, Immanuel College, said he had high expectations for all of the college's students. "We do not engage in what could be called the 'racism of low expectations'," he said.

The Prime Minister said the final target -- closing the life-expectancy gap by 2031 -- was the hardest of all to meet. "That means the life expectancy of indigenous men will need to increase by over 20 years and the life expectancy of indigenous women will need to increase by over 16 years by 2031," Ms Gillard said. "This is a 30-year target. No one thinks it can be achieved sooner. Indeed, it will be extremely challenging."

Indigenous Northern Territory independent MP Alison Anderson said she doubted the government would meet its goals to close the gap with its current policy settings.

"I think they are still heading down the same road with separate policies for indigenous people under a different banner, and if they stick to this they will never close the gap," she said. "I think it's absolutely pathetic. There are no real job opportunities in remote communities. This is just to tick the boxes of the bureaucracy."

Tony Abbott called for statistics on achievements in health, education and work to be published monthly and new targets to be set for indigenous communities, including 100 per cent school and work attendance to be met within 12 months.

The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples co-chairman Sam Jeffries said there needed to be a broader effort to close the disadvantage gap. "The congress will also explore the idea of state and territory governments following the federal government's lead and also make annual responses to the work they are doing to close the gap," Mr Jeffries said.

Close the Gap Campaign co-chairman and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda welcomed the government's agreement to begin developing a long-term national plan to close the gap in indigenous life expectancy by 2030.


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