Macquarie University
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Problematisation of New South Wales government aboriginal employment policy

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posted on 2022-03-28, 19:06 authored by Simon Jovanovic
From the early 1980’s the NSW state government has taken ownership and responsibility for the creation of Aboriginal employment policies within the public service for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Ostensibly, these policies have been a pubic relations exercise to provide Equal Employment Opportunity for the unemployment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NSW public sector. The NSW public sector established the moral basis to design, develop, and administer ‘racialised’ employment initiatives for Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people. These ‘racialised’ policies are ‘paternalistic’ top-down approaches based on the ‘moral responsibility’ of government to address and fix the perceofpetion of the ‘Aboriginal problem’ percieved as as being ‘racially inferior’ and ‘in deficit’ to the qualities possessed by non-Aboriginal people. Through the use of the Whats the problem represented to be? (WPR) approach (Bacchi, 2009) and slected use of Fairclough’s (2002; 2003 cited in Walter, 2006) three tier approach, this research has undertaken a policy analysis of selected NSW government Aboriginal employment documents. The policy analysis has revealed ‘problematisations’ and ‘problem representations’ within each of the policies. These ‘problematisations’ within Aboriginal employment policy has emerged as a continuous pattern of institutional racism embedded in bureaucratic employment policies towards Aboriginal people since the mid-70s.


Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Introduction -- Chapter 2. Literature review -- Chapter 3. Methodological approach -- Chapter 4. Theoretical framework -- Chapter 5. Problematisations of public service aboriginal employment policy -- Chapter 6. Discussion -- Conclusion -- Bibliography. | This paper unmasks the deficit representations of Aboriginal people and the mechanisms of power used by the NSW government to take full responsibility for all Aboriginal employment policies and issues. One of these problem representations has been the ‘racialisation of Aboriginality’ through which the ‘racialised’ employment classification was established, that of Aboriginality’, which reinforces hierarchical power relationships in the bureaucracy between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people. This act of exclusion precludes Aboriginal people from occupying positions across the full range of levels and classifications of government. The creation of these policies and construct of the ‘Aboriginal’ other within the public sector is reinforced through a ‘colonial mindset’, stereotyping and racial profiling the colonised for the purposes of creating a moral panic through policy, to control and manage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the NSW public sector.


Bibliography: pages 77-83 Theoretical thesis.

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Indigenous Studies

Department, Centre or School

Department of Indigenous Studies

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Bronwyn Carlson


Copyright Simon Jovanovic 2018. Copyright disclaimer:




New South Wales


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