he health and wellbeing of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

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The health and wellbeing of Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is poor compared to non-Indigenous Australians. While developments in healthcare quality and delivery services have transpired for Aboriginal Australians during the past four decades, inequalities carry on with Whiteness still serving as a prevailing social and cultural dynamic that breeds further inequalities. The following paper reflects upon and debates the cultural safety, self-determination, and collaboration between white and aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to assure their optimal health and wellbeing. Colonization did not establish an equal opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be as healthy as non-Indigenous Australians, which continues to today's healthcare structure.

II. How colonization has and continues to impact the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

            First, a long past of colonial, paternalistic government resolutions formed obstacles towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women attaining equal health and wellbeing instruments in contrast to non-Indigenous women (Taylor & Guerin, 2014). When the British occupied Australia, they employed widely a paternalistic system that continues today because Australian national, state, regional, and local administrations carry on paternalistic rules. Such policies limit choosing for persons, supposedly for their sake and deprived of their approval. Second, the materialization of colonization has incorporated a transposition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people via a past of racial separation and apartheid (Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission, 1998). These historical colonial contributing factors of health violate human rights treaties, lack an evidence base, and are intensely detrimental across age groups spanning to date. Improved plan today are yet to be instigated because there seems to be a shortage of political resolve in favor of the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

            Third, the transposition of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people led to a collapse of culture and cultural standards through the bearing of Christian ministers and government laws, statues and rules (Wepa, 2015). Churches and religious bodies have been supporting the uneven sharing of control and resources between aboriginals and non-Indigenous Australians and refuse to take an all-inclusive outlook on Indigenous peoples’ health. Fourth, colonial factors of health violated human rights agreements, were not proof-based, and deeply detrimental across generations (Smith, 2016). Considering health policies were established and applied from colonization, little to no empirical proof could back the necessity of modifying the performances of Australia’s First Nations women.

            Fifth, there has been very minor headway in decreasing the inequality chasm between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal Australians during the past ten years in relation to longstanding courses of action like lifespan (Best & Fredricks, 2018). From the colonial times to today, the policy resolutions for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities enacted by federal, state and territory administrations, and other bodies have had dreadful impacts on aboriginal population’s health and well-being. Sixth, while there are reports of progresses on several courses of action for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing, they have not corresponded with the fast health improvements for the overall peoples of Australia. This beneficial position is connected to the colonization and withdrawal of aboriginal Australians in 1788 by the British when their liberties and residence were overlooked, and dominion and tenure assumed by the British Crown whose power triumphed in institutes, rules, and practices (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2015).

            Seventh, the youth demographic of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is large, which means that the range of the challenges presently being met is projected to rise in future decades (Thackrah & Scott, 2011). Being White convenes structural merit, typically imperceptible to White Australians, and works via a series of traditional practices that mold both the livelihoods of the fortunate and the marginalized. This pattern continues and the young aboriginals will continue suffering under it, which means their progeny will continue taking the short end for decades to come if the structure is not changed. Lastly, the disparity in health and wellbeing faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities is connected to systemic prejudice (Smith, 2016). With Australia’s colonization, the wiping out of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities started via extensive carnages and bringing in foreign infectious illnesses. Then, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities were expelled from their territories and afterward separated onto reserves or missions.

III. How my social and cultural locations may influence my future healthcare practice with aboriginal patients, families, and aboriginal health workers

            I am a twenty-six-year-old, five-foot-eight White Australian citizen living in Tasmania. I am currently unmarried and do not suffer from any disabilities. I come from a middle-class family background where I have had the advantage of enjoying optimal healthcare practices that many aboriginal Australians lack today. Therefore, I believe being a white Australian puts me at a privileged position to help aboriginal patients, families, and health workers receive the optimal healthcare they deserve. My social location may stress the answerability of public institutions for socio-economic effects among various divisions of civil society by handling these upshots as an issue of public healthcare obligation to be evaluated against the standards recognized by the Australian human rights organization (Australian Department of Health, 2013).

            My social and cultural location may set up the central doctrines for directing policy development such that patients, families, and aboriginal health workers are not discriminated against and given equal opportunities by distinguishing their different cultural wellbeing. My social and cultural locations may also emphasize public health agencies have instant accountabilities to assure the right to health to that patients and families of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities will be practiced without prejudice, and take thoughtful, tangible, and directed steps to fully achieve their right to health.

            On the flip side, my social locations may lead to some bias in my healthcare practice for aboriginals and their families or health workers. The first potential bias is being unable to relate empathetically to the poor health and wellbeing of the aboriginals from an outsider perspective. Coming from a middle-class white background, I may not be able to fully relate with my aboriginal patients or health workers who have struggled to get optimal healthcare their whole lives. Another potential bias is patients or health workers unwilling to open up to me about their healthcare experiences with the Australian healthcare system. Such subjects may view my privileged background as a contributor to their inadequate and unequal opportunities to access quality healthcare like my white counterparts and see it as reason to refuse to tell me about their health backgrounds.

            A final potential bias is potentially overemphasizing the benefit of an aboriginal health worker or patient in need of quality healthcare over that of a white Australian also in need of the same healthcare services. Statistically, not every single Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person gets poor healthcare service delivery and not every white Australian enjoys optimal healthcare services. Generally, a few aboriginals are well-off enough to afford quality care in the country while a few white Australians are too poor to afford the same care services (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2018). Therefore, these few financially able aboriginals could possibly attempt to get care meant for the many of their community without access under the guise of just being aboriginals. In the process, they would limit the access of genuine white Australians in need of quality healthcare delivery.

IV. How I will develop advocacy strategies for health service delivery that will contribute to closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

            First, I will identify the set-up of explicit initiatives for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, like race, as genuine and non-discriminatory that will be adopted with the directive of tackling inequality. I will also launch the duty of public health service delivery institutions to venerate, safeguard, and satisfy the right to health for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples that will demand a blend of rejoinders such as abstaining from practicing damaging acts, hosting procedures that stop others from practicing such acts, and adopting constructive measures to accomplish the right to health. Third, I will design a formal testable procedure for accomplishing developments in these upshots using free, dynamic and expressive partaking of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples being imperative.

            Fourth, I will set up standards criteria against which to evaluate health programs and program mediations to make sure that services are proper, reachable, accessible, and of satisfactory quality while also being above a basic minimum or vital degree of rights. I will also call for public healthcare agencies, working in collaboration with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to show that they are confronting these matters in a targeted fashion, and are responsible for the realization of distinct goals within a well-defined timeframe. Finally, I will also rest the liability on public health institutes of validating that they have assumed every attempt to utilize all obtainable resources at hand to fulfil, as an issue of precedence, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ right to health.


Australian Department of Health, 2013, National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and      Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023, viewed 1 August 2018             http://www.health.gov.au/natsihp

Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, 2017, National Strategic Framework     for Aboriginal and Torres Islander Peoples’ Mental Health and Social and Emotional            Wellbeing 2017-2023, viewed 1 August 2018 https://pmc.gov.au/resource- centre/indigenous-affairs/national-strategic-framework-mental-health-social-emotional-       wellbeing-2017-23

Australian Human Rights Commission, 2018, Close the Gap – 19 Year Review, viewed 1 August         2018. https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/aboriginal-and-torres-strait-islander- social-justice/publications/close-gap-10-year-review

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), 2015, The Health and Welfare of Australia’s      Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: 2015, viewed august 1 2018    https://www.aihw.gov.au/getmedia/584073f7-041e-4818-9419-            39f5a060b1aa/18175.pdf.aspx?inline=true

Best, O & Fredricks, B (eds) 2018, Yatdjuligin: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nursing           and Midwifery Care, 2nd edition. Cambridge University Press, Port Melbourne.

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC), 1998, Bringing Them Home:             Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander            Children from their Families, viewed 1 August 2018,             https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/bringing-them-home-report-1997

Smith, J 2016. Australia’s rural, remote, and indigenous health (3rd edition). Elsevier, NSW.

Taylor, K & Guerin, P 2014, HealthCare and Indigenous Australians: Cultural safety in             practice, 2nd edn. Palgrave MacMillan, South Yarra.

Thackrah, R & Scott K 2011, Indigenous Australian Health and Cultures: An introduction for          health professionals, Pearson Anderson, Frenchs Forest.

Wepa, D (Ed). 2015. Cultural Safety in Aotearoa New Zealand, 2nd edition. Cambridge             University Press, Port Melbourne.

October 13, 2023

Health Social Issues

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