The Australian value of a fair go is driving the new social change program that hopes to unite institutions and individuals to move towards a more inclusive nation.
Inclusive Australia is a newly launched not-for-profit that brings together a team of organisations and high-profile ambassadors who share the common values of respect and acceptance.
As of December 2, Inclusive Australia has released plans on how to work towards a more inclusive nation, including a new social change program, a landmark study titled Inclusive Australia Social Inclusion Index and an Instagram campaign, @_somebodydifferent.
Inclusive Australia Ambassador, Board Member and proud Yorta Yorta man, Ian Hamm, said this movement recognises the place of Aboriginal people in the broader conversations in Australia.
“Being so intimately involved in [the organisations’] development … I’m invested in what it is trying to achieve, and I think it demonstrates a broader understanding where we as Aboriginal people play a role in leading where our country should be going,” Mr Hamm said.
“What we are trying to do is break those barriers and get people to loosen up a bit if you like, and try to listen more than speak, to hear more than talk, to think more than just react.”
“That is what this social change program is about, we are using technology … but also promoting people just talking to each other, taking that time to explore things to find out a bit more about somebody and their background. It’s at that human level more than anything else.”
The Inclusive Australia Social Inclusion Index was compiled by Monash University and is the first report that examines the overarching issue of social inclusion and discrimination nationwide.
It reports that 25 percent of Australians have recently experienced major discrimination, wellbeing is 15 percent lower among people who have experienced discrimination, around 40 percent of Australians have had little to no contact with minority groups and that over 50 percent of Australians would feel confident to step in and stop discrimination when they see it.
Mr Hamm said that the study acknowledges the discrimination experienced by First Australians but notes the nation is moving forward.
“When I was a young fella … being Aboriginal was purely seen as a negative, there was no positive to it. Now being Aboriginal is a positive thing, my kids view being black as a good thing, they can’t imagine the world I grew up in,” he said.
“Having said that, there are still many challenges we face. There are still many people who have not met an Aboriginal person and rely simply on projections of the media or opinions put across by others and in an age where people don’t take the time to investigate, understand or explore they get sort of fixed in those positions. There is still a fair bit of discrimination.”
Mr Hamm hopes that Inclusive Australia can begin to encourage the engagement of First Nations perspectives and philosophies in mainstream spheres.
“I think we have so much more to contribute to the conversation than what people might automatically assume, like caring for land or caring for Country. The Aboriginal social construct is probably something our nation more overtly needs to heal, or globally needs to heal, that Aboriginal social philosophy,” Mr Hamm said.
“We always talk about our community not ourselves and what we do we think about how we serve our community as opposed to how we serve ourselves … It’s for the mob, you take the mob with you.”
Inclusive Australia will be a continuing movement, evolving as time progresses.
“You have to evolve, that’s reflective of the world we live in, if you’re going to remain relevant and actually contribute to a greater good, you need to evolve and change to the environment you’re in. So whilst this is a starting point, it is by no means a one-off or end point,” Mr Hamm said.
More information can be found at Inclusive Australia’s webpage: https://www.inclusiveaustralia.com.au/.
By Rachael Knowles