The truth is: The government has no freebies for anyone. Programmes need to be tailored to people – especially those facing hardship.
The myth stipulates that Aboriginal people get more benefits and handouts than anyone else, but Aboriginal people are subject to the same social security laws and entitled to no more (and no less) government sponsorship than any other Australian. There has never been a government program that distributes free houses or cars.
The truth is: A lot of money is spent in Aboriginal affairs, but very little trickles through to where it is needed.
It is easy to believe this myth especially with papers reporting millions and billions of dollars spent on Aboriginal politics. The question is: Who received this money? In 2011 the Australian Productivity Commission found the returns on this investment “dismally poor”, the Finance Department “disappointing at best and appalling at worst”. It has been shown that of $25 billion much less than one billion dollars actually effectively reached Aboriginal people. Funds are allocated to too many different agencies, causing a lot of inefficiency.
The truth is: Fewer Aboriginal than non-Aboriginal people drink alcohol.
The myth is based on the high visibility of Aboriginal drinkers. But it is false. Across all age groups in the ‘low risk’ group fewer Aboriginal people drink alcohol than non-Aboriginal people. In the ‘risky’ and ‘high risk’ group proportions are about equal between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. Aboriginal people are 1.4 times more likely to abstain from alcohol than non-Aboriginal people. 80% of Australians believe Australia as nation has a drinking problem.
The truth is: Aboriginal people, like all of mankind, come in all different shades: "Aboriginality is a bit like tea: you can add milk and sugar but it is still tea." —First Contact, Episode One
Before invasion Aboriginal people had dark skin that protected them from the sun. Children of mixed descent were first the result of sexual abuse by white men, and later mixed romantic relationships. The myth stipulates that you need to have dark skin to identify as Aboriginal. But it is up to the individual to make that decision, not you. If someone has Aboriginal grandparents and strongly identifies with this side of their culture they call themselves “Aboriginal”.
The truth is: Most Aboriginal people live in cities or rural areas.
Figures of the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that almost 80% of Aboriginal people live in major cities or regional Australia, yet most representations of “Aboriginal people” incorporate some form of remoteness or outback. Such images refer to a minority - less than 14% of Aboriginal people live in very remote areas. It is much more likely that you meet an Aboriginal person while you go shopping than when visiting places in remote Australia.