In delivering her findings of the coronial inquest into the death of 22-year-old Ms Dhu during time spent in a Western Australian jail cell, state coroner Ros Fogliani was highly critical of some actions of police and medical staff.

She reportedly said Ms Dhu’s medical care in one instance was “deficient” and both police and hospital staff were influenced by preconceived notions about Aboriginal people.

Ms Dhu died on 4 August 2014 from staphylococcal septicaemia – a severe bacterial infection – and pneumonia, which were complicated by a previously obtained rib fracture. Released CCTV footage showed Ms Dhu moaning from pain, saying it was ten out of ten.

It was reported an emergency doctor considered her pain real but exaggerated for “behavioural gain”. Another doctor also noted Ms Dhu suffered from “behavioural issues” while a constable thought she was “faking” her suffering.

Read the original article…

Sport, we’re told, lies at the heart of what it means to be Australian. But what in reality does this mean? The Conversation, in partnership with Griffith Review, is publishing a series of essays exploring the role and place of sport in Australian life: how players, administrators, coaches and spectators are adjusting to new societal expectations around behaviour, gender, race, violence, corruption, transparency, governance and many other concerns.

The beguiling promise of sport is that everyone is treated equally: that it transcends politics through meritocracy. Fair play and a level playing field remain catchwords. Yet who determines whether the play is fair? Is the playing field really fair? And on whose land do the playing fields rest?

The answers to these questions point not only to the limits of Australian sporting meritocracy, but also to the underlying racism in, and whiteness of, Australian sport. While the dominant narratives of sport celebrate the diversity of those who play and watch sport, those in charge tend to be white, straight-identifying men.

These men do not, as a rule, ask questions as to how to diversify decision-making and resource allocation within sports. Or of what it means that their arenas and fields rest on lands belonging to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who did not consent to British takeover and rule. Instead, these men regulate and police the conduct of athletes and teams, patrolling and constraining sporting spaces in their efforts to maximise profits.

This situation is indicative of “whiteness” – a theoretical term that refers to a set of political, social and economic values that emerged from industrial Europe.

Read the full article here…


Aboriginal identity has at least three parts to it. I write here according to Aboriginal values and perspectives, not the Commonwealth’s deeply flawed three part administrative definition, or from white obsession with defining us for their own purposes.

Firstly, one must be able to prove biological descent from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander ancestors. This has nothing to do with skin colour or other physical attributes.

Second, one must have some cultural knowledge and experience of living Black. This is not to say those without cultural knowledge or experiences of growing up Black are not Aboriginal.

The Stolen Generations for example, through no fault of their own, might not be able to say they have cultural knowledge or experience of growing up Black, but if they can prove their Aboriginality through biological descent, then of course they can claim Aboriginality.

It is important to understand that the term ‘cultural knowledge’ should not necessarily equate to ‘traditional’ Aboriginal ceremonies, customs and languages, although all the stronger for those who have them.

As the image below shows, culture has two parts to it – those tangible things we can see such as ceremonies and languages, but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

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As globalisation and technology draw the world closer together, they’ve also revealed chasms in how we relate to each other as nations, cultures and individuals – and how we resolve conflicts. What happens when good intentions are incompatible?

Listen to a recording of the speech here…

With artist Abdul Abdullah, writer and comedian Nakkiah Lui, Aboriginal health expert Gregory Phillips, journalist and political commentator Voranai Vanijaka and Gaysia author Benjamin Law, we explore Australian equality on a number of fronts: representation, social support, sex and decision-making. Our panellists consider what it might take to achieve a culture that reflects a true picture of Australia back to itself – and what we’ll be losing if we don’t.

Listen to a recording of the speech here…

How can we achieve a deeper understanding of Australia’s Indigenous history – not just in the abstract, but in the specific contexts of where we live, work and play? If all Australians had a relationship with Indigenous language, how would that affect race relations more broadly?

Listen to a recording of the speech here…

Will a treaty change the way we do government in this country? Is it something we should be scared of? What does a treaty deliver?

There are currently about 800 regional agreements with indigenous people across this country. They are, in effect, localised treaties. Do we need a universal agreement as well?

As one of the panellists Anthropologist Peter Sutton, arguing against the motion warns ‘be careful what you wish for’. His argument is that a universal agreement would reinforce the notion of race as a legal status in our country’s legal system.

Watch on ABC TV, Big Ideas

Prime Minister John Howard’s plan to intervene in child sexual abuse in the Northern Territory has sparked concerns, with critics labelling the move as ‘authoritarian’.

Mr Howard has announced bans on alcohol and pornography in Northern Territory indigenous communities, as well as an increase in police, health checks for Aboriginal children and a scrapping of the permit system which restricts non-Aboriginal access to indigenous land.

Describing the plight of Aboriginal children as “a national emergency”, Mr Howard said he was taking control of indigenous communities from the Northern Territory government because it had not addressed the problem.

The prime minister introduced the unprecedented measures in response to a Northern Territory government report released last week that found rampant child abuse fuelled by a “river of grog” (alcohol) in indigenous communities.

Read the full article here…