I start by acknowledging the traditional owners of our country. I acknowledge the Ngunawal and Ngambri people on whose land this parliament meets. I also acknowledge the Dharawal/Tharawal, Gandangara and Dharug people, the traditional owners of the electorate of Werriwa. I acknowledge country not just because of the convention; I acknowledge our first people because it is the right thing to do, because, in some small way, I want to acknowledge their pain and to add my voice to ensure that recognition and reconciliation are things that we, as a nation, find a way to do as soon as possible.
I am disappointed to be making a speech in the parliament again that will point out that, 12 years since the apology, we are still not anywhere near meeting all of the targets that we set then and only two of the seven have been met. While it is good that the early childhood education and the year 12 attainment targets have been met, it is disappointing there is little change for any of the other five measures, and it's blatantly clear that so much more work needs to be done with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to improve the way they live and their opportunities. It's a tragedy that our First Australians are dying too soon, are educated far less, are incarcerated too often and suffer more preventable disease. The numbers show this tragedy in real terms. Sixty-four per cent of the burden of disease on our First Australians is preventable. The unemployment rate of First Australians is 21 per cent—four times the current non-Indigenous employment rate. Over one-quarter of incarcerated adults in this country are First Australians and nearly half of all juveniles incarcerated are First Australians. The research shows that First Australians are more likely to be incarcerated than African-Americans.
In 2017, suicide was the leading cause of death amongst our First Australian children aged five to 17. In that same year, one-quarter of all Australian children who died by suicide were First Australians. One in 10 households in public housing is Indigenous. It is the social impact of these raw numbers that should break the hearts of all Australians, but what these statistics don't measure, what they hide in each and every point on a graph, is a person like you and me—it's a mother and father who won't see their baby grow; it's a family that doesn't have parents, aunties or uncles to tell them their history, teach them language or identify their ancestors.
Eight Indigenous Australians have been members of this place, and we celebrate their achievement with them, but it is the Constitution of this land that must also celebrate our First Australians. I acknowledge the work of the member for Barton, Linda Burney; Senators Malarndirri McCarthy and Pat Dodson; and the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt. There is no question that our First Australians have long been and continue to be the subject of cultural and systemic discrimination. While we can't go back and correct the wrongs of the past, we have the ability and the power to stop those wrongs continuing and stop them now. We just need the will to truly want to change the future.
We should start with the recognition of our First Australians in the Constitution. We should accept and listen to truth-telling. We need to work with our First Australians to improve their quality of life. This report should be the line in the sand, but we've tried so many times to draw that line. From Wave Hill Station through to Redfern and this place, these lines cannot continue to mark the gap. This gap must close and it must be done here. We must finally end the drawing of such lines. There is no option. We must act and we must end the shameful history of the systemic discrimination against our First Nations people. We have the generational opportunity to improve the lives of our First Australians. We must learn from them, but we must learn with them, and we must close the gap.