The Indigenous Experience of Australian Civil Society: Making Sense of Historic and Contemporary Institutions
Hart, Victor G., Thompson, Lester J., & Stedman, Terry (2008) The Indigenous Experience of Australian Civil Society: Making Sense of Historic and Contemporary Institutions. Social Alternatives, 27(1), pp. 52-57.
In order to protect future citizens from tyranny and to distribute the rewards of a perceived modern civilization, the architects of the Australian constitution sought to institutionalize such principles as liberty, individual rights and democracy. Once established, this Constitution also institutionalized a set of racist principles that have an ongoing impact on civil society in the 21st century. After progressing from its specific illiberal references to race, the Constitution permitted the historic development of government policy based upon certain European liberal ideological values which construct liberty as a white, free-market concept. Indigenous economic priorities have subsequently been perceived as values that must be deleted from society, and Australian policy objectives have been focused by this aim. This paper examines this historically grounded value system and its impact on certain contemporary policy directions. It considers the implications for Indigenous citizenship in Australia and implications for Indigenous citizens.
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