Managing the “Community” in Community Business

Running a business accountable to a community is hard, whether it’s an Indigenous corporation or an artists’ collective. Not only do you have to manage the business successfully, but you also have to address the expectations, aspirations and needs of the community. Managing this relationship well means that the business can draw on the support,…

Rethinking Aboriginal Governance II – the NT’s Regional Councils

This article is the second in a series which discusses how current our current institutional landscape hinders Aboriginal community development. The usual explanation for dysfunctional institutions is that unskilled or unsavoury directors are not carrying out their function properly, yet what if the problem is the current institutional set-up itself? In 2008, the Labor government instituted reform of…

Rethinking Aboriginal Governance I: Why the Aboriginal Land Rights Act doesn’t really deliver sovereignty or development and how to fix it

The Aboriginal Land Rights Act (ALRA) was enacted by the Commonwealth in 1976, preceded by the famous image of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pouring sand into Vincent Lingiari’s hand, as a way of Aboriginal people in the NT claiming and owning their traditional lands. Administered by a number of statutory Aboriginal Land Councils, the majority…

Fixing Darwin’s Town Camps

I'm briefly quoted in this Herald Sun/NT News article "This Town is a Symbol of Government Failure" on the sorry state of Town Camps in Darwin. Whilst Alice Springs town camps have received most of the attention and government action (probably because there are more of them), Darwin's Town Camps continue to experience neglect. The underlying…

Rothwell and Aboriginal “non-compliance” in a tropical context

One of the more frustrating aspects of Indigenous affairs is that there is an almost total disconnect between thinkers in this area and those in international development. As a consequence, while terms like "underdevelopment" and "dependency" are occasionally used in an Indigenous, fourth world context, they remain almost entirely un-theorised and un-explained there. Nicholas Rothwell has written…