Government departments in South Australia have been criticised for seemingly forcing bureaucrats to acknowledge “white privilege” in Aboriginal cultural awareness training.
Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has told The Australian that public servants had contacted his office in fear of losing their jobs after refusing to participate in the training, which required them to acknowledge their “white privilege”.
“I’ve had public servants contacting my office, fearful for their jobs because in good conscience they cannot undergo this mandatory indoctrination,” Senator Bernardi said yesterday.
“They are being discriminated against because political correctness and bureaucracy have run out of control under the noses of the major parties.”
National debate over the use of the term “white privilege” erupted in January when Senator Bernardi revealed that new codes of conduct for nurses and midwives referenced “a decolonising model of practice based on dialogue, communication, power sharing and negotiation, and the acknowledgment of white privilege”.
The codes do not require nurses or midwives to declare or apologise for white privilege.
Two SA Health documents for “cultural” and “workplace” learning advise staff “there is an undeniable relationship between the continuing impact of colonisation and racism on the current health status of Aboriginal people”.
“Aboriginal people have been negatively impacted by inequitable government policies and the consequential ongoing racism and discrimination,” the documents say, noting that the material will “improve the cultural competence of the SA Health workforce through a better understanding of the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal health outcomes”.
A “learning outcomes” section requires staff to define white privilege and the effect of white privilege on Aboriginal health.
Staff are required to “challenge and respond to ‘racist’ behaviour and racial stereotypes” and “recognise the impact of white privilege on access to services”.
The “learning frameworks” also require staff to explain cultural self-awareness and identify their own cultural values and practices, identify examples of “white privilege” and analyse how “white privilege” impacts on Aboriginal people’s experience of health care services.
The South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources has an online “reconciliation action plan” that states: “We seek to be able to better recognise the influence colonisation and white privilege has on the department’s internal and external interactions with Aboriginal people, their nations and communities.”
Senator Bernardi has told Adelaide radio station FIVEaa's Leon Byner this politically correct nonsense is offensive, if not racist, towards many Australians.
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