You are here
Informit Service< Back to Informit Indigenous Collection
Belonging Together: Dealing with the Politics of Disenchantment in Australian Indigenous Policy
This book was written during a period of deep change in Aboriginal affairs administration not seen in Australia for four decades.
At the time of writing, the public at large is disenchanted with Aboriginal Australia, particularly the corporate expressions of Aboriginal life in representative organisations. Part of this disenchantment is the perception that Aboriginal organisations have failed their communities as expressions of self-determination or self-management, and part of it is because they have done too well imposing Aboriginal needs and desires on the wider population. Informing both perceptions is the idea that Aboriginal people and their organisations are somehow ‘out there’ rather than ‘here with us’. They may be viewed as a part of Australia, perhaps a significant part of its history, but not an important element of Australian self-identification, much less a significant component of the Commonwealth, except as a drain on its public funds.
This book attempts to move beyond the neo-assimilationist position of the governments of the previous decade in Australia and the radical minority-rights approach against which it was formulated. A necessary part of this is a greater integration of white Australia with Aboriginal Australia, a reordering of our subjective understanding more than our structural relationship. I call this a consolidated approach to Aboriginal affairs. It recognises the improvements achieved in Aboriginal circumstances during the period of rights-based land and development programs, recognises also the distance still to travel, and accepts the fact that the future of Aboriginal Australia is inextricably bound up with the future of the descendants of our settlers and immigrants.