Kevin Rudd’s Labor government has teamed up with the National Rugby League and Former Origin Greats (a registered charity) to promote education for indigenous Australian youths who have typically suffered reduced opportunities, bad health and social exclusion as a result of decades of apartheid-style treatment under previous Australian governments.
In his first year in government, Kevin Rudd famously apologised to the aboriginal people for the injustices they suffered which included a government policy to remove indigenous children from their families and bring them up in white families.
As late as 1967, aborigines were not counted in the census and fell under the “Flora and Fauna” portfolio. Under some state laws, aborigines were prevented from mixing socially with white Australians. As recently as 2007, John Howard attempted to control alcohol abuse, child abuse and truancy issues in indigenous communities by sending in the army.
This latest initiative aims to tap into the legend status enjoyed by Australian sports stars and encourage young indigenous people to stay in school. National Rugby League players were in Dubbo, New South Wales, on Tuesday 1st June and former State of Origin players were in Mount Isa, Queensland, on Wednesday 2nd June 2010.
Mark Arbib, the Minister for Employment Participation said:
“The Government’s goal through Learn. Earn. Legend! is to encourage young Indigenous Australians to have a go, stay at school and ensure a pathway to employment.
We know that the best thing all kids can do is get a good education, because the more education you have, whether that be finishing year 12, completing a TAFE qualification, an apprenticeship or a tertiary qualification, the more likely you are to get a good job.
“Mt Isa’s own Scott Prince is our Learn. Earn. Legend! Ambassador [in Mount Isa] and is a great role-model for young people.”
The series of career expos will take place in conjunction with FOGS and the NRL throughout 2010.