Skip navigation
Skip navigation

An Ambivalent Hospitality: Aboriginal Senior Public Servants And The Representation Of Others In Australia's Self-Governing Northern Territory

Ganter, Elizabeth Joan

Description

"How can you make decisions about Aboriginal people when you can’t even talk to the people you’ve got here that are blackfellas?" This question was posed by an Aboriginal senior public servant whom I interviewed for this research in 2007. She was imagining a conversation with the Northern Territory Public Service, whose invitation for Aborigines to join its departments provides the backdrop to my study. Counterposing the absent Aboriginal policy subject with the ever-present, idiomatic...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorGanter, Elizabeth Joan
dc.date.accessioned2013-07-01T04:11:35Z
dc.date.available2013-07-01T04:11:35Z
dc.date.created2010-07
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/10128
dc.description.abstract"How can you make decisions about Aboriginal people when you can’t even talk to the people you’ve got here that are blackfellas?" This question was posed by an Aboriginal senior public servant whom I interviewed for this research in 2007. She was imagining a conversation with the Northern Territory Public Service, whose invitation for Aborigines to join its departments provides the backdrop to my study. Counterposing the absent Aboriginal policy subject with the ever-present, idiomatic blackfella‘ public servant, the question aptly reframes the government expectation that an Aboriginal presence within the public service will represent the absent through Aborigines‘ numeric sufficiency, their location in the corridors of power and their contribution to Aboriginal policies and programs. This interviewee was insisting that she be heard, if her people were to be taken into account. This thesis begins with a history of Aboriginal employment in the Northern Territory administration which concludes that the unplanned accretion of a substantial number of Aboriginal public servants, in 1978, became the new Northern Territory Government‘s opportunity to legitimize itself as a representative bureaucracy. After reviewing empirical studies of representative bureaucracy and theories of political representation, I argue that all public servants discretionarily represent others in their advice to government. I go on to explore the extent to which Aboriginal senior public servants understand themselves to represent other Aborigines in their work. Analyzing data from 76 interviewees, I ask: how compelling to Aboriginal senior officials is the Northern Territory Government‘s self-account as a representative bureaucracy? I argue that these officials work to a social imaginary in which they are present for those Aborigines whom they regard as absent only by circumstance. Aboriginal senior public servants see themselves as neither the naïve tokens nor misguided advocates that the literature has largely made them out to be. Rather, they see themselves as exemplary representatives of others, for whom they model mindful professionalism, and with whom they share fates as Aboriginal Territorians.
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.subjectNorthern Territory
dc.subjectIndigenous political studies
dc.subjectpublic policy and administration
dc.subjectAustralian history
dc.subjectpolitical theory
dc.subjectminority representation
dc.titleAn Ambivalent Hospitality: Aboriginal Senior Public Servants And The Representation Of Others In Australia's Self-Governing Northern Territory
dc.typeThesis (PhD)
local.contributor.supervisorRowse, Tim
dcterms.valid2010
local.description.notesSupervisor: Professor Tim Rowse
local.description.refereedYes
local.type.degreeDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)
dc.date.issued2013-07-01
local.contributor.affiliationResearch School of Social Sciences History Program
CollectionsOpen Access Theses

Download

File Description SizeFormat Image
01Front_Ganter.pdfFront Matter220.58 kBAdobe PDFThumbnail
02Whole_Ganter.pdfWhole Thesis1.9 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail


Items in Open Research are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

Updated:  20 July 2017/ Responsible Officer:  University Librarian/ Page Contact:  Library Systems & Web Coordinator