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Real and sustained engagement with Aboriginal people should be the starting point in rethinking Indigenous welfare policy. AAP/Marianna Massey

Income management doesn’t work, so let’s look at what does

In recent years, Tangentyere Council Research Hub has undertaken data collection in Alice Springs town camps as part of a longitudinal study of income management. The final report of around 300 pages was…
In an otherwise fraught policy landscape, ‘cheapness’ has been one of the cold hard facts of Indigenous affairs. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Cheap in the deep sense: the sorry business of Indigenous affairs

Prime Minister Tony Abbott made a bold move in September when he ran the country for four days from a tent at Gulkula in far northeast Arnhem Land in remote Australia. While there, he observed that although…
Mick Gooda has urged policymakers to learn from their mistakes and adopt a consultative and inclusive approach to Indigenous policy. AAP/Alan Porritt

‘Work with us not for us’ to end the Indigenous policy chaos

Deep funding cuts and uncertainty about government plans have created one of the largest-scale upheavals in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs. That is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander…
A people’s convention could be the circuit-breaker that constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians needs. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

A people’s convention can make Indigenous recognition a reality

Important steps have been made in 2014 in the campaign to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s Constitution. Prime Minister Tony Abbott affirmed his commitment to hold…
Aunty Gayle Rankine, chairperson of the First Peoples Disability Network, is the subject of a portrait from Unfinished Business, a photographic project by Belinda Mason. Belinda Mason/Unfinished Business

Indigenous Australians can take pride in disability policy gains

The International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPWD), December 3, is important for commemorating the successes and efforts of the disability rights movement. The theme this year is Sustainable Development…
South Australians turned out in numbers to hear the 2008 apology to the Stolen Generations, but a bill before the state parliament fails to live up to the promise of that day. Wikimedia Commons/edna-photos

Australian states can do better for the Stolen Generations

A bill before South Australian parliament would make it the second Australian state to compensate Stolen Generation survivors and their children. Tangible recognition of their suffering is overdue, but…
Ken Wyatt watches as House of Representatives Speaker Bronwyn Bishop accepts a boomerang from Cairns local Norman Miller. AAP/Alan Porritt

Questions proposed for Indigenous referendum

The parliamentary committee on constitutional recognition of Australia’s first people has put forward three possible propositions…
Bundilla elder Aunty Barbara Raymond with schoolchildren in Darwin last year, supporting the cause of Indigenous constitutional recognition. AAP Image/Supplied by Richard Oppusunggu

Explainer: what Indigenous constitutional recognition means

Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australia has been on the national agenda for a long time, but is back in the headlines with the news that the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader hope to release…
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott with kindergarden kids at Yirrkala in the Northern Territory. Indigenous and non-Indigenous students in the NT have the nation’s lowest retention rate, so it’s time to try more creative ways to fix that. AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

Keeping Indigenous teens in school by reinventing the lessons

Tony Abbott is spending this week in North-East Arnhem Land, part of his long-held hope “to be not just the Prime Minister but the Prime Minister for Aboriginal Affairs”. We asked our experts: what stories…
Noel Pearson has long had the ear of government, including then minister Tony Abbott back in 2002. AAP/Alan Porritt

Pearson’s grip on Indigenous policy is not backed by evidence

Noel Pearson is seen by many as Australia’s most influential Indigenous leader. As well as being chairman of the Cape York Group, he is an outspoken commentator who shapes policy as part of the Abbott…
Fred Chaney and Adam Goodes have teamed up to push for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, but it’s proving to be a long road. AAP/Newzulu/Hugh Peterswald

Constitutional recognition alive, but it’s still no ‘barbecue stopper’

Australia has taken another step towards constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait…
The Apology of 2008 demonstrated how symbolic actions have powerful practical consequences for reconciliation. AAP/Julian Smith

Indigenous recognition in our highest law is the right thing to do

Later this year, we expect to see draft recommendations from a parliamentary committee on recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian constitution and ensuring there is…
Bess Price (centre) has long campaigned against violence in Aboriginal communities, saying this is ‘a conversation we must have’. AAP/Richard Oppusunggu

NAIDOC Week: a time to be proud and celebrate, but also to reflect

Within Aboriginal Australia there is currently much to celebrate. We have several prominent Aboriginal politicians, an Australian of the Year who is Aboriginal (Adam Goodes), people employed in prestigious…
For a while, it was possible that Tony Abbott would be a transformative leader on Indigenous policy, but he has thus far not lived up to that promise. AAP/Alan Porritt

Abbott is quietly failing on his ‘PM for Aboriginal affairs’ promise

Despite prime minister Tony Abbott’s apparent passion for Indigenous affairs, last week’s federal budget – his government’s first – shows he has followed a well-trodden political path. This path leads…
The media should focus more on positive models of change and commitment in Aboriginal communities. Rusty Stewart

Bad news: negative Indigenous health coverage reinforces stigma

Think of Aboriginal health and you’ll probably recall messages of large gaps in life expectancy, increasing rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and asthma. Or that the last ten years…
The abundant evidence of what works shows the way to help Indigenous Australians build a better future. If only politicians and bureaucrats would heed the findings. AAP/Dan Peled

Closing the Gap: we know what works, so why don’t we do it?

The disappointing data that regularly appears in Closing the Gap reports should raise serious questions about policy development and funding processes. The assumption of media stories and many politicians…
Closing the gap in statistical disadvantage is now the dominant way of framing the relationship between Indigenous and settler Australia, But is it the right way? AAP/Marianna Massey

Indigenous affairs: close the gap, but open the conversation

The sixth annual Closing the Gap statement, delivered to federal parliament earlier this week, had the same message as previous years. There is some progress, some regress and more work needed to achieve…
It is easy – and inaccurate – to suggest that Aboriginal gambling is just one more problem associated with remote Indigenous communities that needs to be fixed. Martin Young

Aboriginal gambling: a question of addiction or resource redistribution?

“Aboriginal gambling” has become something of a hot-button issue in recent years. A number of academic research articles have documented the “risk factors” for Aboriginal people that increase their likelihood…

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