Abstract: Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, while living in the same country geographically, exist in different territories in terms of their social environment. The task of reducing this broad disadvantage experienced by Indigenous Australians in comparison to non-Indigenous Australians has come to be known as 'Closing the Gap'. Common political usage began during the Howard government years to initially describe the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous life expectancy (Behrendt, 2011). This usage was inspired by Tom Calma, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission. His Social Justice Report 2005 provided the impetus for what became the 'Close The Gap' campaign. Its aims were to "close the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health gap through the implementation of a human rights based approach" (Close the Gap, 2011). The simplicity of the message of closing the 17-year gap in life expectancy assisted the campaign in drawing political and social attention to the plight of Indigenous Australians and quantified a life expectancy gap that was wider than that of other developed nations and their indigenous people, including Canada, New Zealand and the US A. The initial goals of the campaign were to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity, including life expectancy, within a generation. "Our cherished goal is to achieve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health equity within a generation" (Calma, 2008). The human rights-based approach emphasised that health inequity is discriminatory and underlined the accountability of government in this. Government was to incorporate the use of goals and benchmarks to further support accountability (Calma, 2008).
To cite this article: Jack, Susan. Closing the gap on diabetes - a social determinants of health perspective [online]. Aboriginal and Islander Health Worker Journal, Vol. 36, No. 1, Feb 2012: 27-30.
[cited 30 Nov 15].