UNSW Press, $39.95 pb, 256 pp
Public passion and debate about Australia’s indigenous peoples ebb and flow. During the 1990s, Mabo, Wik, reconciliation and the Stolen Generations dominated public debate for months on end. Indigenous leaders such as Pat and Mick Dodson, Lowitja O’Donohue and Noel Pearson became familiar figures, prodding politicians and the public to remember unfinished business. As the official reconciliation process ground to a halt during the Howard government, Aboriginal issues receded into the background. They re-emerged spectacularly in 2006 with the cataloguing of widespread sexual and physical abuse in remote Aboriginal communities. This was in the lead-up to the government’s Emergency Intervention in the Northern Territory.