indigenous affairs

indigenous affairs August 28, 2021

The politics of the greater good

It’s taken a long time but the concept of the “greater good” – the sense of a shared destiny, of shared interests, collective purpose, a common future – is finally returning to our politics. Largely this is the result of the need to build community...

indigenous affairs June 5, 2021

The white business of Aboriginal art

It’s been almost 20 years since I wrote “Bell’s Theorem”, an essay about Aboriginal art and the Western systems that make it a white business. The essay finished with a simple observation: “There is no hope.” Well, have a look around us. The planet...

indigenous affairs May 29, 2021

The Uluru statement, four years on

This year marks the beginning of the second decade of constitutional recognition. Who could’ve known when Julia Gillard created the expert panel, at the urging of the Greens and independents Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor, that 10 years, seven...

indigenous affairs April 10, 2021

Lessons from a decade as an Aboriginal cop

Content warning: this piece contains the names of Aboriginal people who are deceased. I spent 10 years as a police officer, working in Queensland. My book, Black and Blue , recounts my time in the police as an Aboriginal woman, and my life as a...

indigenous affairs January 23, 2021

How political fear erodes Indigenous rights

Recently on Twitter – although it wasn’t the first time and surely won’t be the last – former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull claimed responsibility for delivering marriage equality. In reality, he did nothing of the sort: what he delivered was a...

indigenous affairs May 30, 2020

Collaboration on Closing the Gap

It was only three months ago that the prime minister stood up in parliament to make his latest report on the progress of Closing the Gap. Just two of seven targets, he revealed, are on track to be met by 2025. The gap itself is a difficult concept...

indigenous affairs February 15, 2020

The High Court and the “aliens” power

The decision by the High Court of Australia this week on the “aliens” power cast my mind back to my work in 2011 on the prime minister’s expert panel on the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian constitution...

indigenous affairs November 16, 2019

The killing of Kumanjayi Walker

Marly Wells Naparngardi, Warlpiri woman: When I first heard what had happened, I immediately felt outraged, and betrayed, but most of all, I felt sad. We came on Sunday morning to stand together in our grief and were presented with smirking police...

indigenous affairs August 17, 2019

Adam Goodes and writing a new Australia

There are those people who can get away with saying things others dare only to think. That’s Gilbert McAdam. The former AFL player has a cheeky glint in his eye; he always looks as if he’s going to put a comforting arm around your shoulder and draw...

indigenous affairs August 17, 2019

Protecting the Djab Wurrung trees

The impact of the colonial invasion on Aboriginal peoples was never swifter nor more brutal than in western Victoria. The deep volcanic soils and gentle rolling hills of the region, combined with active land management by thousands of generations of...

indigenous affairs June 1, 2019

Morrison and Albanese set out their plans

Already, the race is on for the next election. Both a jubilant Scott Morrison and a perky Anthony Albanese are off and running. Morrison has set himself the task of winning a fourth term for the Coalition, while Albanese is determined to learn from...