Equality and inequality is a characteristic of every society, mainly due to differences and the perpetuation of these differences in society, caused by various factors including social class, race, ethnicity and appearance. Equality of opportunity holds great significance in Australian society and faces many barriers that range from status, power, ethnicity and race.
The existence of difference and discrimination in society, due to inadequate access to socially valued resources such as healthcare, housing, employment and the justice system, permits social differentiation and enables the formation of social classes. Social classes are a chief mechanism of organisation and social control in Australian society, allowing the distribution of power, wealth and privilege as well as the formation of socioeconomic statuses and thus a form of identification, which ultimately reinforces difference rather than commonality. They are, however, also an important mechanism of self and group identity. Those at the top of the social class hierarchy attain power, authority, wealth and political privileges, generally presenting a vested interest in maintaining their social position and socioeconomic statuses, thus consolidating and reasserting their power and authority. This action of consolidating ones power may lead to institutionalised discrimination, which is evident with evaluation of Indigenous Australians.
Indigenous Australians are overtly represented as underclass and underprivileged citizens, living in relative poverty. The mere of fact of being aboriginal can lead to identification in the lower rungs of the social class ladder, thus constituting a form of institutionalised discrimination, as they do not possess the power and authority to redress their situation, which ultimately gives those members of society with the power to redress, the ability to reassert their own power, status and authority. This is evident in the past protectionist policies adopted by the...
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