The status of Indigenous Australians

M. Anne Brown

in Human Rights and the Borders of Suffering

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print August 2002 | ISBN: 9780719061059
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700365 | DOI:
The status of Indigenous Australians

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There are a number of avenues through which the ‘place’ of indigenous people in Australia can be approached. One fundamental arena of struggle has been over land rights. The approach to rights taken here, however, starts from an account of suffering and sets out to trace the political roots of that suffering. One of the clearest forms of suffering to mark the lives of Australian Aborigines is entrenched and widespread ill-health. This chapter considers some of the limitations of those dominant understandings of rights that mark both international rights promotion and the constitution of the liberal state. It asks how we understand and pursue principles of participation, dialogue and negotiation. Approaching health as a matter of human rights can be contentious. This chapter analyses the construction of the ‘Aboriginal problem’, the 1992 Australian High Court decision on Aboriginal land rights (known as the ‘Mabo decision’), Commonwealth indigenous health policy from the 1970s to the 2000s, and self-determination and citizenship.

Keywords: Australia; indigenous people; ill-health; suffering; land rights; human rights; Australian Aborigines; Aboriginal problem; Mabo decision; health policy

Chapter.  16925 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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