Australian Reconciliation Barometer gives cultural competence insights for ECEC

Australian Reconciliation Barometer gives cultural competence insights for ECEC

by Freya Lucas

December 11, 2020

The 2020 Australian Reconciliation Barometer—a national research study conducted by Reconciliation Australia every two years—shows that the global and local Black Lives Matter movements have challenged  experiences and understanding of racism in Australia.

 

Of interest to the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector for the connection with core principles, practices and elements of both the approved learning frameworks and the National Quality Standards, the findings can support services to be more aware of broader community understandings on issues of race for First Nations people, and help to shape the work done by the sector in this domain. 

 

“This year’s Barometer shows more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people reporting an incident of racial prejudice than the 2018 barometer,” Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine said.

 

Just over half of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander respondents reported to have experienced at least one form of racial prejudice in the last six months, she continued, noting that more Australians agree with the statement ‘Australia is a racist country’ than in previous rounds of the survey, which may indicate “a rise across the board in understanding how racism operates.”

 

While 2020 has been a year of “increasing political and social polarisation due to uncertainty and disruption from COVID-19” the positive take away from the findings, Ms Mundine said, is that more people are speaking up, speaking the truth, asking hard questions, and moving from a ‘space of safe’ to a space of brave on issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

 

“Reconciliation gives Australians a framework for understanding our race-relations and provides a framework for moving forward to a reconciled future,” she added. 

 

Community attitudes more advanced than political response

 

 “Our Barometer shows that community attitudes are well ahead of the political response to issues around self-determination, representation, treaty, and in understanding and learning about history,” Ms Mundine noted, providing a basis for activism and action in asking more of political representatives. 

 

The Australian Reconciliation Barometer 2020 reminds us all that reconciliation takes action.

 

“The vital importance of maintaining protections against racism, of supporting anti-racism campaigns and education, and to truly understand the insidious effects of racism on people’s abilities to live their lives cannot be overstated.”

 

Strength in relationship

 

 Ms Mundine said Reconciliation Australia was encouraged by results in the Barometer that show that over 90% of Australians place high importance on the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians.

 

“Reconciliation is built on relationships and we are encouraged to see that support for this key relationship remains high even in these testing times,” she said.

 

“Overall, the Barometer tells us that even in a changing world, engagement with reconciliation is still a priority.”

 

Key findings:

 

    • 95 per cent of the general community and 94 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people believe it is important for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to have a say in matters that affect them
    • 86 per cent of the general community and 91 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people believe it is important to establish a representative Indigenous Body
    • 52 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have experienced at least one form of racial prejudice in the past 6 months (43 per cent in 2018)
    • 89 per cent of the general community and 93 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people believe it is important to undertake formal truth-telling processes in relation to Australia’s shared history.

 

The Australian Reconciliation Barometer is the only survey undertaken in Australia that measures the progress of reconciliation between First Nations people and non – Indigenous Australians. 

 

To access a summary of the report, see here. The full report can be found here

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