This study examined the ambiguity of Indigeneity in the neoliberal era and the resulting race
relations in North Western Adelaide based on ethnographic data obtained since 2008.
The‘ mainstreaming’ of the Indigenous people under neoliberalism has caused economic disparity
within the Indigenous community, which had been already diversified by physical traits and places of
origin. In the absence of any consensus over who were the legitimate members of the local Indigenous
community, fair-skinned, middle-class Indigenous people were the most likely to be rejected as Indigenous
unless their kinship relations with people in the local Indigenous community was confirmed.
Conversely, the ambiguity of Indigeneity promoted solidarity between Indigenous people and
white residents in the impoverished area. Through sharing of social space and everyday interaction,
some members of both groups established complex social relationship which cannot be reduced to the
abstract racial dualism of Indigenous vs. white. Solidarity was built on the basis of the experiences of
exclusion from the mainstream society due to lack of whiteness, as observed in the case of the Lartelare
Glanville land rights movement.
Although the case study cannot be generalised, it demonstrates that the relationship of Indigenous
and white residents in an urban setting is established through the mediation of class and locality along
with race. This reaffirms the significance of focusing on the agency of Indigenous people who capitalise
on this complex, multiple relationship for their identity negotiation with the state.
The Australian Government has repeatedly restructured its social policy since the 1980s, making
welfare payments conditional and increasing work incentives. This welfare reform, influenced heavily
by neoliberalism, has been legitimised by the problematisation of“ welfare dependency,” emphasising
the obligations and the responsibilities of welfare recipients. The Howard Coalition Government in
particular promoted an insistent neoliberal turn in social policies, asserting the importance of a social
welfare system encouraging“ responsible behaviour.” In 2007, the Government introduced a measure
called“ income management” or“ welfare quarantining” which linked welfare payments to the“ socially
responsible behaviour” of parents. Income management was taken over by the Rudd-Gillard Labor
Government, and eventually by the Abbott Coalition Government, and has been a prominent feature of
welfare reform, indicating the importance of analysing income management in the context of welfare
reform from the perspective of parenthood.
This paper analyses the policy process of income management and the logic that has supported it
to consider the issue of neoliberal welfare reform and social inclusion/exclusion. Income management,
introduced by the Howard Government as a part of the Northern Territory Emergency Response
(NTER), was actually a scheme to advance welfare reforms based on the principle of“ mutual obligation”
by urging parents to show responsibility for the care and education of their children. While
supporting the NTER and echoing the Howard Government’s arguments on parental responsibility,
the Rudd and Gillard Governments more obviously referred to income management as a significant
welfare reform scheme and broadened its application. In that whole process, welfare dependency and
its intergenerational cycle have been problematised, and individuals“ depending on welfare” have been
referred to as“ bad parents” who behave“ against normal community standards.” Parenthood has been
the core element of this welfare reform by connecting normative parental behaviour with provision of
welfare payments and thus making parents subject to intervention. Furthermore, attributes such as
Aboriginality, class, age and family type have had a close relationship with representation of welfare
recipients as“ bad parents.” Whereas income management intends to encourage welfare recipients to
achieve social inclusion, this very process excludes them from social citizenship by referring to vague
norms of parenthood.
The aim of this essay is to locate the ongoing resurgence of Anzac Day in the context of neoliberalist
culture since the late 1980s. Approaching to the centenary years of the First World War, the
Anzac tradition is capturing the interests as a subject of historical studies. Some historians argue the
narrative surrounding Anzac Day works as a‘ civil religion’ to substitute Christianity in the secular,
multicultural society, while others criticise the growing nationalistic attachment to the Anzac legend,
allegedly promoted under the Howard government, as the‘ militarisation’ of Australian history. This
essay focuses on the bipartisan social consciousness to use the Anzac myth as a source of national unity,
with the rise of neo-liberalism from the Hawke labor government to the Abbott liberal government.
The discursive shifts concerning Anzac Day over the last three decades demonstrate how the
representation of history has been inclined to be more inclusive in terms of generation, ethnicity and
cultural backgrounds. Various agents of memory, such as politicians, ex-servicemen, or academic historians,
participate in constructing the cohesive memory which would incorporate non-Anglo-Celtic
minorities in the diverse population including indigenous Australians. This apparently harmonious
process of myth-making, however, came as a psychological retreat from the confronting debate on
colonisation and the‘ frontier wars’. In some cases, the emphasis on the indigenous war service offers a
symbolic‘ reconciliation’ through the Anzac tradition. That fits the political correctness in the multicultural
society and mediates the fragile sense of community under neo-liberalism. But, as shown in the
protest on Anzac Day in Canberra, the incorporation of indigenous history into the dominant nationalist
narrative is still problematic and traumatic. In this sense, the recent revival of Anzac Day symbolises
the ambivalent attitude to history and national unity in Australia.