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Aboriginal Economic and Human Development in the Northern Territory of Australia: To Work or Not to Work? A Clash of Non-Indigenous Beliefs

by Don Fuller, Susan Bandias and Scott Holmes

Abstract: Although Indigenous people in the poorest developing countries of the world confront the most severe hardships, nevertheless even in the most developed countries such as Australia, Indigenous standards of living in terms of economic, educational and basic human standards are far inferior to other groups within society. It has been argued that Indigenous affairs in Australia is divided into ‘‘two ideological tribes’’ both vigorously opposed with respect to the preferred manner in which the substantial disadvantage of Indigenous Australians can be overcome. Although more complex categorisations of ideological positions are possible, both maintain considerable influence within the field of Indigenous policy formulation in Australia and in the Northern Territory in particular, where nearly 30 per cent of the total population is Indigenous. The main purpose of this paper is to examine the central arguments advanced by these two sides of the debate and the implications for public policy decision making and Indigenous people, within the context of the Northern Territory of Australia.

Published: ECONOMIC PAPERS, VOL. 31, NO. 1, MARCH, 2012, 50–62

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