Institutionalised Racism in Australian Public Services

Institutionalised Racism in Australian Public Services Report

  • Author(s): Mooney, G.
  • Secondary Author(s): IndigLawB 47,
  • Published: 2003
  • Publisher: Australasian Legal Information Institute
  • Volume: 5

Abstract: Government institutions in Australia are racist in their interaction with Indigenous people. This ‘institutional racism’ is contextualized by a recent history in which Australian society has shown itself to lack compassion. For example, the Howard Government’s refusal to officially apologise to Indigenous people, their demonisation of asylum seekers, and the increasingly inequitable distribution of wealth in this country. This lack of compassion has extended to the allocation of resources within the health care system. Indigenous health has disappeared from the political agendas of both main parties. There is a mistaken belief that we have an equitable health care system. For example, there is a perception that Medicare is universal and fair, but the reality is that it is neither. A study looking at the use of Medicare by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people over a three year period in the mid-1990s showed that Aboriginal Medicare users born in the 1940s received just over $1000 of benefits while non-Aboriginal people got nearly $1800. We know that Aboriginal people are on average much sicker when they enter hospital. Yet the level of benefits for Aboriginal people hospitalised was only 67 percent of that for non-Aboriginal people hospitalised. The Aboriginal people were getting nursing care while non-Aboriginal people were getting high cost medical interventions. On average, Australians use Medicare funded primary health care to the extent of just over $530 per year. The rich people of Double Bay in Sydney use over $900 per annum of such services. In the Kutjungka Region in the Kimberley, which is one of the most remote areas of Western Australia (‘WA’), the Aboriginal people are amongst the sickest in Australia. Yet they use less than $80 in Medicare primary health care funds per year. The inequities in health care for Aboriginal people have been investigated, and brought to the attention of politicians and the public in various reports. In the last 20 years there have been more than 20 reports into aspects of Aboriginal health. The problem is that so little action is taken to address these inequities.

Cite this document

Suggested Citation
Mooney, G., 2003, Institutionalised Racism in Australian Public Services, Volume:5, Report, viewed 10 August 2022,

Endnote Mendeley Zotero Export Google Scholar

Share this page

Search again