Paternalism Effects On Aboriginal Health And Education

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It is estimated that there are more than 370 million indigenous people spread across 70 countries worldwide with approximately 250,000 Aboriginals living in Australia . Aboriginal health and education is described by New South Wales Ministry of Health to be not just the physical wellbeing of an individual but the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of the whole community in which each individual is able to achieve their full potential as a human being . Racism and Paternalism is a challenge that the Aboriginal people face constantly which has had an overall effect on both their health and education. Racism is the belief that human races have distinctive characteristics which determine their respective cultures, usually involving the…show more content…
Paternalism is a controversial topic as it is premised on the notion that the government or the state is better able to make decisions in a person’s interests than the person themselves . An example of paternalism is the Northern Territory intervention where in 2007, former Prime Minister, John Howard, announced that the federal government was taking control of 60 aboriginal communities, sending police and soldiers in to patrol them and suspending their rights to grant permits to visitors . Howard also imposed bans on alcohol and pornography, ordered compulsory health checks on children under 16 and declared that welfare payments would be stopped to parents whose children failed to attend school . This intervention had a massive effect on both the health and education of the indigenous people as it takes away their control and power over their own lives while the government gave no consent or consultation with the affected communities. The mandatory health check of all children under the age of 16 inadvertently implies that the indigenous children were being sexually abused which has a negative effect on the health and socialness of the community. After 12 months of the intervention, convictions of child sex abuse were still higher than before the intervention. Correspondingly, when looking at figure 1, it is evident that from the years of 2007-2010, after the initiative was put in place, the life expectancy of aboriginal people, specifically males, rapidly declined approximately 5-10 years. According to The Menzies School of Health Research, there was also a massive increase in suicide, violence and alcohol rage under the Intervention . This decline in life expectancy may be due to the lack of power that the indigenous people have over their own lives, resulting in rebellious behaviour

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