Institutional racism in Australian healthcare: a plea for decency

Christopher R Strakosch
Med J Aust 2004; 181 (10): 580. || doi: 10.5694/j.1326-5377.2004.tb06461.x
Published online: 15 November 2004

To the Editor: In their challenging article, Henry and coauthors assert that the poor health of Australian Aboriginals is the result of the “divided, divisive, racist, socially unjust society” of “this Australia”.1

I cannot agree. The health standards enjoyed by “white Australia” are not an isolated phenomenon, but rather a part of the fabric of an advanced technological society. Efforts to bring Australian Aboriginal health to the same standard without the Indigenous Australians being fully part of this 21st-century society will never be successful, even with limitless resources and endless goodwill.

It is possible to maintain cultural identity and remain cognizant of past hurts while playing a full, if not leading, role in this technological society.

If the Aboriginal elders were to lead their people into mainstream society they would find, I’m sure, an inclusive, tolerant, exciting and advancing society where they could play a full role, enjoy the same health as the rest of Australia, while still maintaining their unique identity.

  • Christopher R Strakosch

  • Suite 16, Greenslopes Specialist Centre, Newdegate Street, Greenslopes, QLD 4120.


  • 1. Henry BR, Houston S, Mooney GH. Institutional racism in Australian healthcare: a plea for decency. Med J Aust 2004; 180: 517-520. <eMJA full text>


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