Politics with Michelle Grattan

Linda Burney on the treatment of Indigenous Women

April 1, 2021

In the passionate debate over the treatment of women in workplaces, and particularly the extent of violence and harassment, the voice of Indigenous women, especially those living in isolated communities, has gone largely unheard.

Linda Burney, speaking at the ALP’s National Conference this week, strongly advocated for equality and opportunity for all in Australia. She called for a constitutionally-enshrined voice for First Nations people in parliament, commitment to realising the Uluru Statement in full, and a renewed focus on ‘truth-telling’.

As Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, and for Indigenous Australians, Burney joins the podcast to discuss the voice of Indigenous people, especially in light of the current cultural movement.

Domestic violence against women in Indigenous communities is a serious issues - a 2018 report by the Australian Institute for Health and Welfare assessed Indigenous women as 32 times as likely to be hospitalized due to family violence as non-Indigenous women.

Burney sees the abuse partly in historical terms.

“Think about the Stolen Generation…so many women that were removed were sexually assaulted and ended up in dreadful situations. Now they became mothers, and those mothers became mothers, and that trauma is handed down.”

Burney calls for change on at a “local community level”

“The Aboriginal women that I speak to don’t necessarily want this to end up with a man with a criminal conviction and the possibility of going to jail.

"What they want to see is for the violence to stop and for men to get help. And where I’ve seen domestic violence programmes in the Aboriginal community that are really successful, is at a local community level. Because the community has to own the problem, before it’s dealt with.”

And what about the attitude of Indigenous men?

“I don’t think aboriginal men are resistant to change. We have in the Aboriginal community a very strong movement in terms of mens’ groups.

"Men realise that there is a problem. They realise that they’re part of the problem. But we have to find ways to make them part of the solution as well.”

Podbean App

Play this podcast on Podbean App