After consensus

23 Sep 2008

This essay looks at how the progressive consensus about Indigenous affairs has come undone, and at how a progressivist moral politics dulled our instincts about the sanctity of Indigenous people’s right to be free from violence, abuse, neglect, ignorance and corruption. Links between the morality of humaneness, the moral politics of being left of centre and a progressive-oriented view of Indigenous policy seemed simpler and more intimate in the 1970s. The destructive naïveté of that consensus has itself come to be destroyed more than anything else by the issue that was so often central in the pre-1960s Australia, and which took a back seat for so long afterwards: ‘putting the children first.’ This article also looks at the role of anthropologists in the post-1970 history of Indigenous politics in Queensland.

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