The Australian African Network celebrates the decision of the Rudd Government to offer a formal apology on behalf of the Australian Parliament to members of the stolen generation for the enormous suffering they and their families have experienced. We hope this gesture will help heal some of the deep wounds inflicted on our indigenous people, and mark a turning point in reconciliation between indigenous and non indigenous Australians.
Category Archives: Advocacy
We’ve just taken a look at the early results from our survey. AAN set up the survey late last year because we wanted to get a better idea of how many people are in mixed families & couples and what kinds of issues are important to them.
So far, 32 people have filled out the survey. We know that’s just the tip of the iceberg – so if you haven’t filled it out, please do it now, so that we can plan activities for the year ahead that will truly reflect what’s important to you. Also, the more data we have about our constituency, the more likely we are to get funding for those activities.
The survey results so far indicate that most people are interested in seminars on political and cultural issues (95% answered “please do it” or “fairly interested”) and political lobbying and advocacy (94.8%). Also high on people’s list were seminars on cross cultural relationships (88.2%) and conferences (83.3%). There was a fairly strong interest in picnics (78.9%) and support goups (72.2%), and the least interest in parties (60% – hey, come on!?) and activities for teens (47%).
Of the 32 people who answered the survey, there were 23 women and 9 men. 13 people described themeselves as anglo-Australian, 6 as African, one New Zealander and the rest described themselves as Australian. African respondents were from Kenya, Sudan, Nigeria and South Africa. Non African respondents described their partners as being Tanzanian, Ghanaian, Zimbabwean, Central African, West African and Tswana. 16 different languages were spoken in mixed households.
21 people were parents of a total of 37 children, including 26 who were of mixed heritage. The children ranged in age from young adults to infants.
The issues people identifed as most important to them were racism, particularly as it affected their children; the need for connection to African communities & culture; employment/accreditation of African qualifications; and financial issues. A couple of respondents felt there were no issues that affected them specifically as mixed families/couples that were different to other families.
We do have a lot more data than we’re releasing here – this is just a taste. A full report will be published after we’ve got more results.
Does this sound like you and your family? Are these the issues you care about? Get your voice heard, fill out the survey today.
Today representatives of AAN presented the Say No to Racial Politics petition to Mr Rick Brown, Senior Advisor to Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews. Jill Sergeant (AAN Treasurer) and Nicole Cunningham, (ordinary committee member), delivered a strong call for leadership by the minister and from all politicians in opposing racism.
View the photos of the petition presentation on our Moblog.
There was some discussion of the impact of racism on our communities and Mr Brown put forward the Coalition’s view on the refugee intake policy. Read the Minister’s Statement on the Refugee and Humanitarian Intake 2007 – 2008.
Our delegation offered to act as a resource for the coalition on an ongoing basis, in respect to cross-cultural issues. Jill stated that as members of mixed families we are “at the cutting edge” in building cross-cultural relationships and have considerable expertise to offer.
Mr Brown agreed to present the petition and supporting documentation to the Minister, and to utilise AAN as a resource in future consultations.
We are very happy with the outcome because it was a great opportunity to start dialogue with the Coalition about issues that deeply affect and distress our communities.
The petition gathered 1,773 signatures from all around Australia and overseas, and many signatories added comments. These comments, as we pointed out to Mr Brown, are a valuable resource as they reflect a range of opinions and experiences from the Australian public.
Thanks once again to all who supported the petition! We are very pleased and honoured to have been able to present to the Ministry your strong pro-African statement against racism and stigmatisation.
We plan to provide more detail about the meeting shortly.
We will now start negotiating for a meeting to discuss these issues with the relevant Labor MP.
We have obtained a meeting with a senior advisor to Minister Kevin Andrews first thing Wednesday 14th November! We’ll post a report on the meeting here later this week.
After speaking with the Minister’s staff we will seek a similar meeting with the Shadow Minster and are also considering a follow up at State level.
Thanks for your support!
Thanks to all who have supported our petition. We now have over 1700 signatures.
AAN is currently negotiating to present the petition to Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews by early November. We will also present it to Shadow Minister Tony Burke.
View the AAN Media Release which was circulated on October 10 (PDF, small file).
For more info and statements on this issue, see AAN condemns Andrews’ statements on African migration
We want to rally support from all Australians to challenge the racist attacks the Minister is making against Sudanese refugees. The government is playing racial politics as a desperate election stunt, but the ramifications of government-endorsed racism on individuals’ lives and communities will impact on the whole society for a long time to come.
Andrews ignores the valuable contributions Africans have already made to Australian society, such as their work in nursing services, aged care, the meat industry, and the music industry.
If the government has concerns about any migrant community’s integration into Australian society, the appropriate course of action should be consultation with that community and the provision of appropriate funding, resources and support, not racist vilification of that community during the politically sensitive pre-election period.
To AAN this is a clear example of racism being used to divide the country. We need all Australians to say NO to racial politics.
We want the government to back down from using racism as an election stunt.
For more info and comment see also:
Refugee Council Media Release.
Slamming the door on Africa – comment by Dr Andre Renzaho
Statement on decision to suspend African Refugee intake By the President of the Anti-Discrimination Board of NSW, Dr Stepan Kerkyasharian AM
Back to the future Comment from Australian Policy online