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Words in the News
 
Monday 16 February 2004
 
Sydney Riot
 
Car after riot Aboriginal residents in the district of Redfurn in Sydney, Australia rioted after the death of a teenager. They believed the police were responsible for the death of a 17 year old boy Thomas Hickey.
 
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Redfern has been at the heart of Sydney's Aboriginal community for generations. Large sections of property, known locally as the Block, were bought with the help of the federal government in the early 1970s. The inner city district is within sight of the centre of Sydney. Over the years thousands of people came from all corners of this vast continent looking for work and to meet up with relatives and friends.

The disturbances have come against a backdrop of widespread poverty and a dependency on welfare in many native communities across the country. Aborigines are the most disadvantaged group in Australia. They die on average twenty years younger than their white counterparts and suffer disproportionately high rates of ill health, imprisonment and unemployment. Large numbers of people have self-destructed through the abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Relations between the police and many young Aborigines are often strained at the best of times. What is certain is this violent episode will be a major setback for efforts to improve relations between black and white Australians.
 
 
Listen Listen to the words
 
Aboriginal
 
a member of one of the tribes which were living in Australia when Europeans arrived
 
inner city district
 
an area inside the city
 
all corners of this vast continent
 
all parts of Australia (a country which is also a continent)
 
have come against a backdrop
 
happened at a time when there is
 
white counterparts
 
white people similar in age and other characteristics
 
disproportionately high rates
 
surprisingly and unreasonably large amounts
 
self-destructed
 
destroyed themselves, became ill and died
 
strained
 
pushed beyond normal limits
 
what is certain is
 
a phrase used to introduce a fact
 
major setback
 
a major setback is something that makes your position worse than before
 
 
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