poverty, poor environmental health and mental distress, a high death rate for infants and small children, and appallingly high rates of suicide, violence and substance abuse.
As will become clear, patterns of ill-health lock into the struggles around land rights. At a concrete level, however, almost all IndigenousAustralians, including those who live beyond the immediate scope of land rights, are affected by high levels of disease. Questions of Aboriginal health often have a curious status. The linkage between Aboriginal ill-health and what could
This book argues for greater openness in the ways we approach human rights and international rights promotion, and in so doing brings some new understanding to old debates. Starting with the realities of abuse rather than the liberal architecture of rights, it casts human rights as a language for probing the political dimensions of suffering. Seen in this context, the predominant Western models of right generate a substantial but also problematic and not always emancipatory array of practices. These models are far from answering the questions about the nature of political community that are raised by the systemic infliction of suffering. Rather than a simple message from ‘us’ to ‘them’, then, rights promotion is a long and difficult conversation about the relationship between political organisations and suffering. Three case studies are explored: the Tiananmen Square massacre, East Timor's violent modern history and the circumstances of indigenous Australians. The purpose of these discussions is not to elaborate on a new theory of rights, but to work towards rights practices that are more responsive to the spectrum of injury that we inflict and endure.
received training to be ‘native nurses’ who worked in hospitals on
In this chapter, an indigenous historical lens is applied to the status of
Indigenous nurses and midwives in Australia. I explore the establishment
of Australia’s nursing profession, and compare training of white nurses
with training received by ‘native nurses’. I suggest that Australia failed to
respond to the British Colonial Nursing Service’s agenda and argue that
this failure, in part, contributed to the poor health status experienced by
IndigenousAustralians. I propose that four issues
East Timor in the creation and perpetuation of a pattern of severe and embedded abuse. That failure to pay attention to concrete circumstances marked the ‘realism’ of the prevailing international attitudes on East Timor; to what extent might it also characterise the current liberal approaches?
The third case study, which looks at the ‘place’ of IndigenousAustralians within Australian political life, returns to a liberal rights focus – in this case not involving the language of international rights talk but rather concerning the ideals
taken as already settled, and sometimes quite reasonably so. Frequently, however, as the later discussion of the health of IndigenousAustralians indicates, such analyses assume or demand a crucial zone of uniformity, whether within the state or more broadly – a realm of public discourse that is declared to be neutral and open to all citizens and others, but one that is repeatedly exclusionary. Moreover, it is easy to overlook or forget these practices of exclusion, simply because within states they have proved relatively effective, so that, for example
Britain. 27 Yet they also signal its declining relevance in an
increasingly multicultural society with the narrow focus on the ‘Anglo’
white male dissipating in the films of the 1990s and beyond. Felicity
Collins and Therese Davis demonstrate the rupture that the Mabo decision
of 1992 (a High Court decision that allowed IndigenousAustralians to
claim their land rights) brought to Australian cinema, 28 introducing a
performance of Corroboree , composed by John Anthill, whose works
also feature in the film, and performed in blackface. Those few
IndigenousAustralians who are featured are always performing their
difference – by throwing boomerangs or dancing. A popular shot in royal
reportage generally is that of crowds improvising viewing positions –
climbing trees, flagpoles or onto roofs to catch a royal glimpse. Such
administrative traditions can be relevant here. Nevertheless legal (and policing) solutions can prove disastrously insufficient. It seems hardly surprising, for example, that female infanticide in western China is hardly touched by legal prohibition. Nor has formal citizenship, bolstered by anti-discrimination legislation, proved a sufficient response to the marginalisation and ‘outcasting’ of IndigenousAustralians. Moreover, as the discussion of Aboriginal health underlines, nor do welfare remedies necessarily make up what is lacking from formal, politico-legal solutions
creatures, human and otherkind’ (1996: 9).
More recently, Anne Elvey has defined this term more inclusively to include
‘both those we understand as living (e.g., fleas, whales, and eucalypts) and
those we understand otherwise (e.g., glaciers, sand, and air)’ (2014: 36).
4 ‘Caring for country’ should not be confused with Western ecofeminist ‘ethics
of care’. It has a foundation in traditional ecological knowledge (‘Law’), rather
than sentiment (although IndigenousAustralians do evince a high degree of
Julie Evans, Patricia Grimshaw, David Philips, and Shurlee Swain
Paisley, Loving Protection? Australian Feminism and Aboriginal
Women’s Rights, 1919–39 (Melbourne: Melbourne
University Press, 2001).
Maori Record , 1 November 1906, pp.
44–5; see also Nicolas Peterson and Will Sanders,
Citizenship and IndigenousAustralians: Changing Conceptions and