After a passionate debate in the Legislative Assembly this morning, representatives of the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience saw their Bill pass with amendments.
The Bill, “Cultural awareness to be provided to professionals in the education, health and legal system”, was drafted in the hope of closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians, said team member Alarna Pyper.
“Overcoming the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people is at the forefront of reconciliation,” she said. “This Bill is here to create peace and harmony between everyone in the workplace.”
Fellow team member, Shaylene Black said as a country, Australia has an understanding and acceptance of all cultures.
“But it’s about time we, as indigenous people, stand up for the change we are in need of,” she said. “Learning is the active reception of new information. Two weeks of training will increase awareness and open a wider community response which will close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous people”.
Refuting team, Phoenix College, said although they have no objection to the stories of the Aboriginal people, there is a huge danger in creating such a specific Bill.
“We do not want to hinder one of the most important tasks of Australia, to include each and every race within our country,” team member, Jackson Ford said.
“By drawing attention to Indigenous people, we will further emphasise their differences, rather than raise awareness for multiculturalism”.
“This Bill is impractical and inconvenient,” Phoenix College student, Sarah Lauder said. “Not everywhere in Victoria is heavily populated by Indigenous cultures”.
The Bill was passed with amendments to Clause 7.
This was published in the YMCA Press Gallery, July 3 2014