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Aborigines the ultimate outsiders in 21 st Century Australia 1

Aborigines the ultimate outsiders in 21 st Century Australia 1

Why are Aborigines the ultimate outsiders in 21 st Century Australia? And why are they the

perennial objects of Australian government attention?

In this 21 st century, the number of indigenous people in the 21 st century is over 300 In this
21st century, the number of indigenous people in the 21st century is over 300 million, whereby
they are spread all over the world, including the Scandinavian Sami, Guatemala’s Maya, the
Dalits in the South Indian mountains, the Kwei and San of South Africa, and Aboriginal people
of Australia, among others. There is a great diversity among indigenous people’s communities,
with each having a significant culture, history, language, and a significantly different way of life
(Altman and Johnson, 2010). In spite of these diversities, these indigenous communities across
the world share various values that are partly derived from the view of their lives are inseparable
and part of the general natural world.
In Australia, the ancestors of the first Aborigines in the country, believed to have
originally been the homeland of Aborigines. For thousands of years, they lived a peaceful,
primitive, and nomadic life without the disturbance of the outsiders. Therefore, historically
Australians have more aligned to think of remote living Aboriginal people through broad
representation types (Altman and Johnson, 2010). During the 21st century, it is clear that the
aborigines of Australia are the ultimate outsiders. This paper argues that the fact on top of
discussing why they are perennial objects in regard to the Australian government attention.
Over the past two decades, the Australian approach of the Social Policy towards the
indigenous people has been underlined under the overreaching goal of struggling to achieve
outcome equality, while at the same time recognizing the discrepancy that is increasing
(McCormick et al, 2007). Such an approach is considered as necessary because it makes it

Aborigines the ultimate outsiders in 21 st Century Australia 2

possible for an ultimatum of the rights of the indigenous citizens, which have been in play since
the 1960s, as well as the recognition of the inherent rights envelope, which both highlight
equality and difference. However, even in this century, there is still a disturbing extreme for the
making of social policy that underlined in the norm of universalism. Indigenous people whose
economic and cultural circumstances are very diverse from the dominating societies, are living
on land owned by the Aborigines in Australia’s remotest parts and are engaging in significantly
diverse customary economies (McCormick et al, 2007). This is a very problematic extreme,
especially within the reform welfare context, which has placed so much emphasis on mutual
obligation since the ‘striving for equality of measured outcomes’ milestone might never be
realized or be seen as appropriate in a setting that views the Aborigines as outsiders in the 21st
century Australia.
Apart from the historical legacy that makes the Aborigines to viewed that way, this status
is also contributed to significantly by two factors. The first one is that they reside in localities
that are extremely remote considered to be “beyond the market’, which makes these localities
susceptible to geographically-remote localities lacking viable markets of labor; and secondly,
due to the significantly high-levels of commitment in the non-market or customary economy that
results due to concrete cultural continuities – partly due to relatively benign and late histories
(Levitus, 2011). As a result, in the 21st century, Aboriginals are represented as the outsiders in
the Australian context due to the picture that is attached to them by default. First, they are
pictured as outsiders due to the cultural discrepancies even if in positive terms – gatherers and
hunters who have vibrant artistic and ceremonial traditions, and whose language is very distinct
coupled with the fact they live off the land (Levitus, 2011). Secondly, they are viewed as

Aborigines the ultimate outsiders in 21 st Century Australia 3

outsiders in this perspective because their cultural differences are significantly viewed as
negatively driving them away from the common population. In the critical view of the typical
Australian, their cultural discrepancies are more of savage and repugnant practices, characterized
with anti-modern (anti-21st century) tendencies, and they are generally depicted as improvised
social outcasts of the modern age. Despite the fact that they have existed through history of
Australia, large and by, it is clear that just a particular kind of image has been dominant all
through – they are the modern-day Australia outsiders (Levitus, 2011).
It is largely due to the reasons outlined concerning why they are the ultimate outsiders in
the 21st century Australia that help to better explain why they are the perennial objects of
Australian Government attention (Megaw, 2006b). The government views it as an informed
move to intervene through the introduction of new policies for the policy regarding the
indigenous people. Mainly it is in an effort to change their being viewed as outsiders. The
government attention cannot be mentioned as romanticist or dilettantish and can be generalized
in several observations. The first one is the combination of native title and land rights as well as
increasing the possibility of the recognition of the Aboriginal rights, and making sure that they
are not habitats to such remote localities in the future. Secondly, the government attention can be
viewed in terms of trying to improve the robust living conditions in such localities and increase
the state penetration, globalization and the labor market. Thirdly, as a result of the recent debate
regarding the social policy that is underlined by the rubric of mutual obligation, it is crucial for
the government to act as a the key player it is in improving on the social participation degree that
is well established already, to cater for these indigenous and remote communities like
Aboriginals for this matter.

Aborigines the ultimate outsiders in 21 st Century Australia 4

The government consideration of the Aboriginals as perennial objects can be argued in
terms of increasing self-determination and self-management. In this century especially, the
commonwealth policy has been based on this declaration: ‘the fundamental right of Aboriginals
to retain their racial identity and traditional lifestyle or, where desired, to adopt wholly or
partially a European lifestyle,” (Coombs, Dexter and Hiatt, 2010; p. 21). The government is
promoting the initiative on Aboriginal control or participation in community or local
government, as well as the other concerned areas to encourage them from living in the
conceptualities that ultimately label them as outsiders. This approach was previously conceived
as self-determination and self-management, and recently the government support has been the
latest positive investment in programs that are managed by Aboriginal organizations. For
instance, the Aboriginal Development Commission has been string than ever in the 21st century
advent, whereby it is positively assisting social and economic development of Aboriginal people,
through promotion of their self-management and development as well as increasing the
economic self-sufficiency of the Aboriginal people (Coombs, Dexter and Hiatt, 2010). The
government involvement in the general view is to ensure that the Aboriginals are at the same
social and economic front with their counterparts.
In general, the Aboriginal are viewed as outsiders in the 21st century Australia because of
the remote localities and deprived social, cultural and economic welfare. The reason they are
they are the perennial objects of Australian Government attention is because the government
wants to change these statuses and ensure this is not their position in the country anymore
(Megaw, 2006b).

Aborigines the ultimate outsiders in 21 st Century Australia 5


Altman, J.C. and V. Johnson (2010), ‘CDEP in town and country Arnhem Land: Bawinanga
Aboriginal Corporation’, CAEPR Discussion Paper No. 209, Centre for Aboriginal
Economic Policy Research, Australian National University, Canberra.
Coombs, H. C., B. G. Dexter and L. R. Hiatt (2010), ‘The outstations movement in Aboriginal
Australia’, Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Newsletter, 14, 16– 23.
Levitus, R. (2011), Aboriginal Development and Self Determination: Policy, Distancing and
Articulation, unpublished manuscript, Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research,
Australian National University, Canberra
McCormick, T., R. Irving, E. Imashev, J. Nelson & G. Bull, (2007). First Views of Australia
1788-1825: a History of Early Sydney. David Ell Press in association with Longueville
Publications, Chippindale, NSW
Megaw, J.V.S., 2006b. Australian archaeology – how far have we progressed? Mankind 6(7):

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