Ideology in Public Policy: An Examination of Aggressive Paternalism and Enculturation in Indigenous Assistance Programs

By Lester J. Thompson and Richard Hil.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Although Australian Government officially rejected a paternal assimilation strategy as public policy in the late 1960s, its policy increasingly encourages Indigenous people to adopt ‘mainstream’ values and objectives. This paper examines contemporary Australian policy directions for their desire to promote conformity. By exploring recent policy responses to Indigenous affairs it considers the resistance that ideologically-imposed objectives foment in subject populations. The paper highlights the weakness of coercive approaches to public policy. The discussion concludes that imposed problem definitions and solutions will not satisfy the needs that liberal traditions uphold as the social agenda of western democratic Government. More importantly, they fail to address the needs and aspirations of Australia’s Indigenous people in any meaningful way.

Keywords: Indigenous, Social, Policy, Housing, Ideology

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp.421-430. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 542.271KB).

Dr. Lester J. Thompson

Lecturer, Humanities and Human Services, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Lester Thompson is a lecturer and teaching fellow at the Queensland University of Technology (Australia). He currently teaches Human Service Work students about social issues and organisational analysis in the School of Humanities and Human Services. He has many years experience working as a Social Worker with Australia’s Indigenous peoples. He has also worked in social policy administration and then as an academic analysing and writing about Indigenous assistance policy in Australia. His current interests relate to social policy analysis, human social need theory, the organisational context of practice and motivating factors in the helping professions.

Dr. Richard Hil

Senior Lecturer, Arts and Social Sciences, Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia

Dr. Richard Hil is Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts and Social Sciences at Southern Cross University, Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia. He has written and researched extensively in the areas of criminology, family and child welfare, peace and conflict studies, and youth studies.


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