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Indigenous autonomy in Australia: some concepts, issues and examples

Arthur, Bill (W S)

Description

This paper explores the concept of autonomy as it might apply to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Literature dealing with the concept of autonomy is considered and several analytical approaches are discussed. Principal amongst these are the distinction between corporate autonomy for a people and regional autonomy, whether autonomy might apply to only Indigenous people or to all people in a region, and the possible relationship between political and economic factors. Although...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorArthur, Bill (W S)
dc.date.accessioned2003-03-25
dc.date.accessioned2004-05-19T16:23:39Z
dc.date.accessioned2011-01-05T08:35:57Z
dc.date.available2004-05-19T16:23:39Z
dc.date.available2011-01-05T08:35:57Z
dc.date.created2001
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/41592
dc.description.abstractThis paper explores the concept of autonomy as it might apply to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Literature dealing with the concept of autonomy is considered and several analytical approaches are discussed. Principal amongst these are the distinction between corporate autonomy for a people and regional autonomy, whether autonomy might apply to only Indigenous people or to all people in a region, and the possible relationship between political and economic factors. Although autonomy may be considered as a right, the paper takes the view that it is a status which has to be negotiated with the state, and so requires legitimation. <p> With these principles in mind, the concept of autonomy is discussed at the national level and in four regions: Torres Strait, the Tiwi Islands, the Miwatj region in Arnhem Land, and the Murdi Paaki ATSIC region in New South Wales. These examples suggest that Indigenous people perceive autonomy as something that would apply to largely to Indigenous-specific services; only in Torres Strait is consideration being given to a form of regional autonomy that might apply to issues relating to all of the people in the region. The example of Murdi Paaki in New South Wales suggests that in the more heavily populated regions of the country Indigenous people may well view autonomy in terms of devolving more economic power to the regions within the ambit of the ATSIC system. <p> In general, the examples suggest that Indigenous views of economic autonomy include increased control over Indigenous-specific funding. The only exception to this is in Torres Strait where one goal is greater Indigenous control of local fisheries. There is a significant point of divergence between Indigenous and government views of the economic aspects of autonomy, with governments considering political autonomy as something that might result in a reduction in welfare costs either through greater regional efficiencies or through increased Indigenous participation in the market economy. <p> The paper suggests that the concepts of negative and positive autonomy may be useful in the Australia context as they may help illustrate that a particular form of autonomy is possible even when there is continuing economic dependence on the welfare system.
dc.format.extent390238 bytes
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherBrinkin, NT : The Australian National University, North Australia Research Unit (NARU)
dc.subjectIndigenous Australians
dc.subjectregional autonomy
dc.subjecteconomic power
dc.subjectATSIC
dc.subjectAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission
dc.titleIndigenous autonomy in Australia: some concepts, issues and examples
dc.typeWorking/Technical Paper
local.description.refereedno
local.identifier.citationyear2001
local.identifier.eprintid1034
local.rights.ispublishedyes
dc.date.issued2001
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationANU
local.contributor.affiliationCAEPR
local.citationDiscussion paper no.220
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
CollectionsANU North Australia Research Unit (NARU)

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