Enduring tensions in Indigenous affairs
A Different Inequality: The Politics of Debate about Remote Aboriginal Australia
by Diane Austin-Broos
Allen & Unwin, $29.99 pb, 224 pp, 9781742370491
Many Australians are hungry for answers to Indigenous disadvantage. In recent years, anthropologists have been among those who have proposed solutions. This latest offering is from Diane Austin-Broos, professor emerita at the University of Sydney and long-time ethnographer of the Ntaria (Hermannsburg) community in Central Australia. In it she attempts to outline the debates about Indigenous people both inside and outside the academy over the last two decades. She presents these debates through the prism of anthropology, the discipline that has the longest association with Indigenous Australians, but one that some would suggest has had little influence on Indigenous policy-making in recent years. In fact, Austin-Broos attributes the fierce and sometimes bitter debates in the last decade to the vacuum created by the discipline’s silence in the public sphere, a void readily filled by ‘shock jocks’ and right-wing think tanks eager to criticise the guiding principles of the self-determination era.