Aboriginal politics


Selected statistics

House of Representative members Aboriginal people could have if they were represented according to their percentage of Australia's population [2]. Number of Senators: 1.
Minimum number of Aboriginal candidates in the 2010 Federal election [2].
Year it became compulsory for Aboriginal people to vote.
Percentage of Australians who trust the media. Same figure for all surveyed countries: 57%. [9]
Percentage of Australians who trust the government. Same figure for all surveyed countries: 41%. [9]
Northern Territory voter turnout in 1996, assisted by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Electoral Information Service (ATSIEIS) which ensured Aboriginal people were on the electoral roll. [3]
Voter turnout in 2010. John Howard had scrapped the ATSIEIS in 1996 after his election [3].
Percentage of Australians who think improving Aboriginal living conditions should be a high or very high priority for the government [5].
Percentage of surveyed Australians saying that Australian politicians do not know enough about Aboriginal history and culture [5].
Percentage of Australians who think Australian politicians have not learned from past successes and failures in Aboriginal policy [5].

List of linked articles

List of short articles

I clearly recollect the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Gough Whitlam, standing before 60 of us Aboriginal people and asking that we tell him what we wanted from his government rather than 'what we think is best for you'. No other Prime Minister had ever made that statement and nobody since, including Kevin Rudd.—Chicka Dixon, Aboriginal activist and humanitarian [1]

Aboriginal politics resources

Book cover: Black Politics by Sarah Maddison In Black Politics Sarah Maddison argues that until Australian governments come to grips with the complexity of Aboriginal politics they will continue to make bad policy with disastrous consequences for Aboriginal people.

Based on original interviews with influential Aboriginal leaders Black Politics seeks to understand why Aboriginal communities find it so difficult to be heard, get support, and organise internally.

Warlpiri Media Association

The Warlpiri Media Association (WMA) is a non-profit community organisation based in Yuendumu, 300kms north-west of Alice Springs, Northern Territory. It is managed by a locally elected Indigenous management committee and also known as PAW Media and Communications. PAW is the abbreviation of the three language groups of that area, Pintupi, Anmatjerre and Warlpiri. WMA provides media services over a 40,000 km² area.

Warlpiri Media employs Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff who create and broadcast local media as well as media for a broader regional and national audience.

WMA’s major area is video, both production and local transmission. In 2001 they launched the now popular PAW radio network, and also offer a music recording studio and the capacity to produce web based projects.

The association has been in business since 1993 and celebrated its 25th birthday in 2008.

One example of their fine video productions is the popular bush comedy Bush Mechanics.

Find more information visit the Warlpiri Media website.

I think it's critically important for Indigenous media to have our own outlets to counteract a lot of the mainstream media's negativity and straight out lies.—Amy McQuire, Darumbal and South Sea Islander journalist [8]

Deadly Sounds - a weekly radio program

Deadly Sounds is a Australia’s only national weekly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music program. It features music, culture, information and sport in a positive magazine format. Deadly Sounds supports a positive healthy lifestyle without too much alcohol and without drugs.

The program features Aboriginal music from around the country, interviews with special guests from the fields of music, sport, film, theatre, dance and community achievement [7].

It began in 1994 on just 12 stations [7] and is now broadcast through the community radio network as well as the National Indigenous Radio Service to almost 200 stations across Australia, and to over 70 remote stations. Deadly Sounds broadcasts to every state and territory in Australia.

Ads targeting Aboriginal people

Most media in Australia targets western people. Advertisements for Aboriginal people, however, have to be different should their messages reach them.

During 2011 the Roads and Traffic Authority of NSW ran a seatbelt campaign aimed at changing the behaviour of rural male drivers who forget to buckle up [4].

While most ads showed white people, a print ad below [26] targeted Aboriginal people. Note the use of the wavy decoration which incorporates colours typically found in Aboriginal art, and the prominent use of the Aboriginal word “mob” (used to address fellow Aboriginal people).

Advertisement reading 'A reminder to clip every trip - Bring the mob home savely', showing an Aboriginal driver reaching for the buckle. Advertisement targeted to an Aboriginal audience. It uses Aboriginal art, colours, shapes and the word ‘mob’ to be culturally appropriate.

Like in a James Bond thriller

Stephen Hagan, an Aboriginal academic, tells how he felt when he had to do business at an office for Aboriginal-specific services [6].

“I had cause to visit a Indigenous-specific office in Brisbane with a relative to speak to a public servant and was appalled to observe the process we had to go through in securing a face-to-face meeting.

We had to press a button on a blank wall - there was no Indigenous art decor to speak of or sitting room to take a seat in - and wait for an anonymous voice to come over the intercom to direct us to another floor where someone observing our movement on a security camera continued to direct us through slowly opening doors.

At the end of a series of manoeuvres that wouldn’t look out of place in a James Bond thriller, we arrived at our destination to be greeted by a non-Indigenous public servant in a most uninviting meeting room.

I shook my head and knew at that instant why Indigenous clients don’t visit these offices…”


View article sources (9)

[1] 'Looking back', Koori Mail 454 p.21
[2] 'Hopefuls ready to face voters', Koori Mail 482 p.7
[3] 'Election wrap up - it's a worry', Koori Mail 484 p.23
[4] 'Clip Every Trip', advertising.nsw.gov.au/campaigns/clip-every-trip, retrieved 20/11/2011
[5] 'Opinion poll scathing of Government', Koori Mail 459 p.3
[6] 'Time for a shift in attitude', Koori Mail 424 p.21
[7] '14 years on, program still sounds deadly', Koori Mail 419 p.43
[8] 'Justice through journalism: Q&A with Amy McQuire', honisoit.com/2014/10/justice-through-journalism-qa-with-amy-mcquire/, retrieved 23/10/2014
[9] 'Distrustful nation: Australians lose faith in politics, media and business', SMH 21/1/2017

Cite this article

An appropriate citation for this document is:

www.CreativeSpirits.info, Aboriginal culture - Politics, retrieved 10 December 2018