OCEANIA/AUSTRALIA - Cardinal Pell calls for less sentiment and more “tough love” for Aboriginal Australians

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Sydney (Agenzia Fides) – The Aboriginal population has no need for sentiment, but for “tough love,” that helps them on the path to economic development, cultural promotion, and social renewal, says Cardinal George Pell, Archbishop of Sydney, referring to the policies placed in act by the Australian government in regards to the Aboriginal community. The Cardinal says “there is every room for compassion,” however taking into account that the lack of integration of the Aborigines into Australian society is not only “a shortage of money.”
The Archbishop of Sydney, after visiting the Aboriginal community in Wadeye, 350 km southeast of Darwin, declared that in the relationship with the aborigines, good intentions are not enough and that institutions must dialogue with the people.” He also mentioned the need to “break the culture of dependency,” saying that “it is not difficult to waste money,” in reference to the need to make the communities responsible for their own growth and progress.
The Church in Australia has always been attentive to the needs of society, especially the situation of the Aboriginal minorities. It is a situation that needs a drastic intervention on the part of all Australian citizens, in the various regions and communities.
The Bishops confirm the need for the nation to support the Aborigines, leaving aside the “law and order” approach that seeks to repress criminal activity, and instead, promote a plan to integrate the community into the Australian social fabric, especially through new job opportunities and education. The right to education and employment are two basic elements in promoting an authentic integration and participation in society, politics, and culture in Australia, so as to guarantee them the rights enumerated in the nation's Constitution.
There are 517,000 Aborigines (2.5% of the population) in Australia. Alcoholism, drugs, and unemployment are the main problems of the community, especially in the remote rural areas. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 28/5/2009)