Category Archives: Social Media

Australia’s national aboriginal employment website

On August 31, 2009, the Australian Indigenous Chamber of Commerce launched Australia’s first national Aboriginal employment website.The chamber’s chairman, Warren Mundine, said that the site provided a platform for government, businesses and Aboriginal job seekers to work together to minimise Aboriginal unemployment. This effort highlights the attempts to ‘close the gap’ through neoliberal policies which see that by including indigenous people in the economy their welfare would improve. Neoliberal logics rely on a language of economic insecurity as justification for comprehensive reforms to increase competitiveness, efficiency and responsibility (Strakosch 2011), However as Green an Patel have disussed, relatedness is care value of indigenous culture with a strong preference for cooperation over competition, raising further doubt over the benefits of ‘economic engagement’ for ‘closing the gap’ in indigenous wellbeing through employment.

The website is available at www.indigenousjobsaustralia.com.au.

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Indigenous Rights- Social Movements-Facebook

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The forced closure of Aboriginal communities proposed by the Australian government this year has sparked social movements in protest. Facebook has been used  to make their struggle known to a wide audience. Petray’s study ‘Protest 2.0 online interactions and Aboriginal activists’ examine the use of Web 2.0 to supplement ‘offline’ activism. The benefit of the internet is that it is a platform accessible even to traditionally marginalized sectors of society such as the remote Aboriginal communities (Kral 2010).  Moe (2010) suggests this should make it easier for those at the political periphery easier access to the political core.Focusing on Indigenous Australia, Singleton et al. (2009) argue that interactive digital technologies like YouTube and Facebook can empower Aboriginal young people as they share their culture with an outside audience Garcia et al. (2009) point out that sites like facebook actually enhances the possibilities for the ‘presentation of self’ (Goffman, 1959). In other words, online environments provide people the opportunity to clarify who they are to their social networks, (Salimkhan et al., 2010; Strano, 2008) essentially fitting with goals of self determinism.

The articles discusses the  rise of Facebook and other social networking sites as forms for cyber-activism. Facebook allows users to seamlessly merge their various interest political as well as social, as they post links to articles and events or publicly express their thoughts to their entire network of ‘friends’ The interactivity enabled by Web 2.0 serves to expand the ‘virtual we’ of Indigenous solidarity, encompassing not just Indigenous people but their supporters, and many sympathetic individuals from around the world.The sites demonstrated above link online and offline activism through the arrangement  of marches and protests which provide a physical space  where those who wish to be strongly involved in the movement  can come together which Petray 2011 see’s as a crucial factor in making online social networking work for protests.

Australians Shake Up Internet With Indigenous #MotherLanguage Tweets

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According to McConvell and Thieberger (2001) less than half of the 200- 300 indigenous languages spoken in Australia at the time of the European colonisation are still spoken and many more are currently endangered. They argue that language is a key connector to tradition and heritage connecting people to culture and environment. The NATSISS survey found that only 24.7% of Indigenous adults could understand or speak an Indigenous language.  Hallaet et al state that this loss of indigenous language “spells the end of another way of looking at the world, of explaining the unknown and of making sense of life” (Hallett et al (2007 p393).  Maintenance of Indigenous languages among young people is key to keeping the languages alive for future generations. Being able to converse in one’s own language has been proven to produce a strong sense of self, and has been found to reduce rates of suicide among indigenous youth (Hallet et al 2004). This kind of online learning through tweets may be a key way in which the internet can be used as a means of culture preservation for indigenous people.

Stop Think Respect- Anti-discrimination campaign

Although several national and international reports have shown a link between racism and public health, there was little research on this topic in Australia.  In response to this paucity of research, the ‘Racism and Indigenous Health’ symposium was held at The University of Melbourne in 2007.  A subsequent report was published in 2008 (Paradis et al)  on the impact of racism on indigenous health by the cooperative research center for aboriginal health.

The findings  highlighted the need to explore the benefits of racial socialisation (i.e. learning about the nature and ubiquity of racism in society) and to find effective ways to combat interpersonal racism against Indigenous peoples. Improvements in health system performance were supported as an approach to addressing systemic racism in health care, and the symposium emphasised the need to systematically estimate the cost of racism to society in Australia in understanding of the ways in which societal systems produce advantage and positive health outcomes. The paper was intended as an impetus to policy decision makers at the national regional and local levels to engage in combatting racism against indigenous peoples.

Despite the addressing of these issues in 2007, racism is still a key issue effecting indigenous well being. NATSIS survey data revealed more than one-quarter (27%) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had experienced discrimination in the last 12 months. A recent survey by charity Beyond Blue found discriminatory attitudes to still be alarmingly high among those interviewed as can be seen in the following charts:

http://cf.datawrapper.de/cwLAo/4/

http://cf.datawrapper.de/gJcb3/4/

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http://cf.datawrapper.de/RZBcd/2/

In response to the survey results bluefin launched an anti-discrimination campaign

However after launching the campaign they did further research to gain feed back,

The evaluation found that up to 21 per cent of respondents who had seen the scenarios depicting subtle discrimination in the video still thought the behavior they depicted was acceptable, while 70 per cent agreed that “almost everyone has been a racist at some point in their lives”. This demonstrates the way in which racial discrimination is deeply ingrained within parts of Australian society and that the solution goes beyond raising awareness to actually addressing the structural violence that fuels these attitudes.