Burney to fight dark rate
Labor's first Aboriginal spokesperson for indigenous Australians wants efforts to reduce indigenous suicide.
Labor MP Linda Burney has taken up the Indigenous Affairs portfolio in Labor leader Anthony Albanese's shadow cabinet.
She has called for more research on the factors that contribute to the suicides of indigenous people.
“Were there one or two common strands that every awful situation contained? I don't know where the research is and we need to know more about it,” she told The Australian.
She has offered to travel alongside new minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt.
Ms Burney says she wants to reach out to indigenous families, “sit down with them and talk to them. That's absolutely crucial. They have to be part of putting forward what needs to happen.”
Ms Burney says youth suicide is not new, particularly in regional, rural and remote communities, and that early intervention strategies are the key to grappling with the issue.
“Not just intervention in the year before or the two years before [they potentially take their life], but investment in early childhood education, healthy living, being strong in your culture and strong in yourself,” she said.
Ms Burney's 33-year-old son Binni Kirkbright-Burney died in 2017. Police declared there were no suspicious circumstances.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week told the federal cabinet that they needed to “break the curse” of youth suicide.
“We are going to be curse-breakers around this table when it comes to attacking that issue,” he said.
Anyone experiencing distress or looking for more information can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636