Author(s): Sarah Maddison
Australia is wreaking devastation on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The evidence is incontrovertible. Whatever the policy - from protection to assimilation, self-determination to intervention, reconciliation to recognition - government policies and programs have made little positive difference to the quality of life of the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In far too many instances, interaction with governments has only made Indigenous lives worse. The successes of a burgeoning Indigenous middle class cannot obscure this fact. Despite this, many activists, and analysts - Indigenous and non-Indigenous alike - still believe that working with the state is the only viable political option. This belief has produced a situation of constant churn and reinvention in Indigenous affairs, as governments of all persuasions battle over the 'right' approach to solving Indigenous 'problems', secure in their belief that new or better policy is the answer. The Colonial Fantasy considers why Australia persists in the face of such obvious failure. It argues that white Australia can't solve black problems because white Australia is the problem. Indigenous policy in Australia has resisted the one thing that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people want, and the one thing that has made a difference elsewhere: the ability to control and manage their own lives. This book argues for a radical restructuring of the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and governments, seeing the resurgence of Indigenous nationhood as the only way forward.