Articles on indigenous affairs

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Abbott’s previous policies on Indigenous issues were characterised by funding cuts, exclusions and silencing – all of which makes his role as envoy highly questionable to Indigenous communities. Mick Tsikas/AAP

Why Tony Abbott’s appointment as Indigenous envoy was a diplomatic blunder and policy failure

The proposals Abbott has pushed as envoy - more police in Indigenous communities and learning in English - demonstrates his ignorance and unsuitability for the job.
A sculpture of William Ricketts looms over those of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men at the sanctuary in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges. Chris Haych/flickr

Friday essay: William Ricketts Sanctuary is a racist anachronism but can it foster empathy?

A mossy sanctuary in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges houses 92 sculptures, mostly of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men, women and children. They are steeped in primitivism, yet the park is a popular tourist attraction.
The targets relating to Year 12 attainment, preschool enrolment, and childhood mortality are on track to be closed, according to the 2018 Closing the Gap report. AAP/Marianna Massey

Three reasons why the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians aren’t closing

Care needs to be taken in interpreting progress on closing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and ascribing it to actual policy change.
Part of Mandy Martin’s painting Cool Burn (2016): in her painting workshops at Djinkarr, Indigenous rangers brought the threats to their land to life on canvas.

Friday essay: caring for country and telling its stories

Feral cats and pigs, mission grass and climate change - in western Arnhem Land, Indigenous rangers are battling many environmental threats. Through painting and performance, they are also telling 'healthy country' stories.
Tony Abbott’s additional target focusing on school attendance rates has not improved at all since 2014. Neda Vanovac/AAP

Closing the Gap is failing and needs a radical overhaul

The report focus on the government’s own policies fails to acknowledge genuine differences of opinion on key issues such as constitutional recognition and income management.
Children representing the diversity of contemporary multicultural Australia stand near a sign depicting an ‘idealised’ white Australia. Blackwood Recreation Centre, South Australia, 2015. Photo: C. Smith

The markers of everyday racism in Australia

How might an Aboriginal person in the Northern Territory experience racism? There are many material signs that can make a person feel excluded from society.
Paul Keating recognised the significant opportunities – and political risks – the High Court’s Mabo decision presented. National Archives of Australia

Cabinet papers 1992-93: Keating government fights for Indigenous rights on multiple fronts

Cabinet papers reveal the extent to which the Keating government was torn between concern for fiscal responsibility and a desire to tackle Indigenous disadvantage and pursue meaningful reconciliation.

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