National Conference ­ ISAA

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National Conference


David Christian, Director of Big History Institute and Distinguished Professor in History, Department of Modern History, Macquarie University, Sydney

will present the ISAA Annual Lecture on

Thursday 12 October  5.30 – 6.30 pm at the National Library of Australia

on the theme of: ‘The Russian Revolution in World History’

Abstract: 'The Legacy of the Russian Revolution': The project of building a better world has always been with us, and still is today.  The Russian Revolution represents one of the most determined attempts ever to build a better and more equal world, in which most members of society could flourish.  It clearly failed, and analysing the reasons for its failures is immensely important if we are to face the same question squarely a century later.  Once again, issues of inequality loom large.  But today, we have to deal with the new understanding that our biosphere sets limits to the amount of energy and resources we humans can consume.  So, one of the most important legacies of the Russian Revolution is a question: can we build a better world, in which most people live flourishing lives, and can we do so without undermining the ecological foundations for such a world?

CV: David Christian (D.Phil. Oxford, 1974) is by training a historian of Russia and the Soviet Union, but since the 1980s he has become interested in World History on very large scales, or ‘Big History’. He taught at Macquarie University in Sydney from 1975 to 2000 before taking a position at San Diego State University in 2001. In January 2009 he returned to Macquarie University.  From 2009 to 2013 he was a ‘World Class Universities Distinguished Professor’ at Ewha Womans University in Seoul; and over the same period, he has also held a position as a James Marsh Professor-at-Large at the University of Vermont.  He was founding President of the International Big History Association, and is co-founder with Bill Gates, of the Big History Project, which has built a free on-line high school syllabus in big history.  He is the Director of Macquarie University’s Big History Institute, and designer and lead teacher on Macquarie University’s MOOC in Big History.

David Christian has written on the social and material history of the 19th century Russian peasantry. He has also written a textbook history of modern Russia, and a synoptic history of Inner Eurasia (Russia, Central Asia and Mongolia) up to the time of the Mongol Empire; the second volume of that history will be published in 2017. In 1989, he began teaching courses on 'Big History', surveying the past on the largest possible scales, including those of biology and astronomy; and in 2004, he published the first book-length study of Big History, Maps of Time, which won the World History Association prize for the best book on world history published in 2004. He has also published a short history of humanity and, with Cynthia Brown and Craig Benjamin, has completed the first college-level textbook on big history.  In 2017, he will publish an account of big history as a modern origin story for a general readership.  At San Diego State University, he taught courses on World History, ‘Big History’, World Environmental History, Russian History, and the History of Inner Eurasia. He is a member of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen [Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities], and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Global History and the Cambridge History of the World. David Christian has given numerous talks and lectures on aspects of Russian, Inner Eurasian and world and big history, and in March 2011, he gave a talk on ‘13.7 billion years of history in 18 minutes’at the TED conference in Long Beach. 




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ISAA Annual Conference, 2016

Speakers - Abstracts and Biographies

Thursday 13 October

Session 1 (9.45- 11 am)

Speaker 1: Dr Ann Moyal AM, Changing Frameworks: A Chief Social Scientist in Australia

Speaker 2: Emeritus Prof Ian Cowan FAA, Reflections, On Liberty

Session 2 (11.30 am-12.45 pm)

Speaker 1: Chris Ulhmann, Fact, fiction and politics

Speaker 2: Emeritus Prof John Warhurst AO,  Professional Lobbying: the good, the bad and the unacceptable

Session 3  (2-3 pm))  Chair: Christine Yeats

Speaker 1: Dr Wendy Michaels, Lobbying like a Lady

Speaker 2: Emeritus Prof Marian Sawer AO, Who speaks for women in the policy process?

Session 4  (3.30- 4.30 pm)

Speaker 1: Rev Dr John Moses, Two Sydney Professors and Two World Wars; George Arnold Wood (1890-1928) and Stephen Henry Roberts (1928-1938): Prophets and Educators

Speaker 2 Prof Rodney Nillsen, Higher Education Policy and Cultural Change in Universities

Annual Lecture (5.30-6.30 pm)

Quentin Dempster, The media in Australia - distorting influences and redeeming efforts


Friday 14 October

Session 5 (9.30-10.30 am)

Speaker 1: Dr Kerryn Higgs, Policy versus reality: the Growth Delusion

Speaker 2: Glenn Burns, Shaping Public Policy in Australia: Why Religion should have no part in it

Session 6 (11 am – noon)

Speaker 1: Ian Keese, Dissenting Voices: the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901

Speaker 2: Dr Bob Davidson, Competition Policy and Human Services.

Session 7 (1.30-2.20 pm)

Speaker 1: Craig Ritchie (AIATSIS), Towards ‘As Aboriginal’ Policy: Culture, framing and social construction in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy Enterprise.

Speaker 2: Rod Little (National Congress of Australia’s First People), Embracing the ‘R’ challenges in policy development: ‘Reflections, Relations, Respect, Results’


ISAA Annual Conference, 2016

Abstracts of Papers

Session 1: Speaker 1: Dr Ann Moyal - Changing the Frameworks: A Chief Social Scientist in Australia.

Since 1989 the Australian Commonwealth Government has employed a Chief Scientist. Across more than a quarter of a century, the role of this high appointee has been to give independent advice to government on issues in science and technology and, increasingly, to take responsibility through its office for providing evidence-based research and advice to the Prime Minister’s Science Council, now the Commonwealth Science Council. In the 21st century science has come to hold a central place in national policy making.

Australia’s National Research Priorities, however, embracing food, resources, energy, health, soil and water, manufacturing, transport, cyber-security and the environment, together with questions of anthropogenic climate change, older people and ageing, innovation, employment, and the impact of new technologies, all combine key ingredients of the humanities and the social sciences.  Yet unlike several countries overseas, Australia has no national policy forum where the cultural and social perspectives and the knowledge rooted in our social structures and human behaviour can be heard and can contribute to the solving of the nation’s ‘wicked’ problems.

This paper will argue for the importance of a Chief Social Scientist in Australia. ‘Many of our frameworks’, says the head of the Business Council, Catherine Livingstone, ‘no longer fit’. In an innovative 21st century, it is not just science and scientists we will defer to. We need to reassess our structural frameworks and bring our full capacities to the policy table.

Dr Ann Moyal AM, FAHA is a historian of science, technology and communication with strong interdisciplinary interests. The author of many books and papers, she researched and taught in several Australian universities and was Director of the Science Policy Research Centre at Griffith University.

Session2 : Speaker 2: Emeritus Professor Ian Cowan”- Reflections On Liberty

John Stuart Mill wrote, "To tax stimulants for the sole purpose of making them more difficult to be obtained, is a measure differing only in degree from their entire prohibition; and would be justifiable only if that were justifiable. Every increase of cost is a prohibition, to those whose means do not come up to the augmented price; and to those who do, it is a penalty laid on them for gratifying a particular taste. Their choice of pleasures, and their mode of expending their income, after satisfying their legal and moral obligations to the State and to individuals, are their own concern, and must rest with their own judgment."

Consumption of caviar is a habit easily 'kicked'. What about stronger addictions? Mill went on, "But it must be remembered that taxation for fiscal purposes is absolutely inevitable ... It is hence the duty of the State to consider, in the imposition of taxes, what commodities the consumers can best spare; and à fortiori, to select in preference those of which it deems the use, beyond a very moderate quantity, to be positively injurious. Taxation, therefore, of stimulants, up to the point which produces the largest amount of revenue [my emphasis]... is not only admissible, but to be approved of."

With this I do not agree. I shall talk about a particularly noxious and injurious stimulant - tobacco. Government policy is to tax it up to the point which produces the largest amount of revenue.  It is justified by arguing, falsely, that smokers cost the community more than they pay, and, with blatant disregard of the conflict of interest, that the primary intent is to save smokers from the risks to their health. I shall mention other stimulants, or stimulating occupations, such as alcohol and gambling, which enable federal or state governments to extract money from minorities who are 'hooked'. I shall argue that public policy of this kind is a greedily motivated "tyranny of the majority".  And that there are better and honest ways to help save citizens from the hazards of particular lifestyles.

Emeritus Professor Ian Cowan took a degree in physics from London University, and then spent six years in Jamaica working on problems of irrigation and drainage on sugar cane plantations. After a  further seven years in Nottingham University lecturing on agricultural physics, he came first to CSIRO, then to the newly formed Research School of Biological Sciences at the Australian National University, his research gravitating towards plant physiology and ecology. Amongst his extra-curricular activities has been the establishment and part-ownership of Dorette's Bistro, a restaurant-cum- nightclub with musical entertainment and art exhibitions. He now deals in early illustrations of the Australian flora and fauna, and studies the history of nineteenth century science, particularly evolution. He is a Visiting Fellow at the ANU, and member of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia.

Session 2: Speaker 1: Chris Uhlmann - Fact, fiction and politics

Chris will speak about his experience with the reality of politics and its links to the three works of political fiction he has co-authored.

Chris Uhlmann is one of Australia’s best known and most respected political broadcasters.  He began his journalistic career with The Canberra Times as a 29-year-old copy kid, after failed stints as a student priest, storeman and packer and security guard. He co-hosted Canberra’s top rating breakfast program before switching to federal parliament as ABC radio’s chief political correspondent in 2006. He has anchored the flagship current affairs programs AM and 730 and in 2008 he won a Walkley Award for broadcasting interviewing.

He is now the ABC’s political editor. He has co-authored three political novels with Steve Lewis: The Marmalade Files, The Mandarin Code and Shadow Game . The first two have been made into a six part mini-series Secret City, which screened on Foxtel in June 2016. He is married to the federal member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann.

Session 2: Speaker 2: Emeritus Professor John Warhurst AO - Professional Lobbying: the good, the bad and the unacceptable.

This presentation will examine the large professional lobbying industry in Australia, examining the various ways in which interest groups, corporations and commercial lobbyists contribute to representation, legislation and public policy-making. The impacts are variable and the industry is extremely diverse. The contributions are both positive and negative. Regulation is limited.

Emeritus Professor John Warhurst AO is an Emeritus Professor in the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University where he was Professor of Political Science from 1993-2008. He has been Chair of the Australian Republican Movement and President of the Australian Political Studies Association. He is a frequent media commentator and has written a weekly column for the Canberra Times for almost 20 years.

Session 3: Speaker 1: Dr Wendy Michaels - Lobbying Like a Lady

In the contemporary context, lobbying is a multi-billion dollar industry designed to shape public policy. George Rennie argues that the industry employs a barrage of sophisticated strategies from campaign donations to online petitions, all aimed at influencing both government legislation and public opinion. While methods are now refined, and a specialised industry firmly established, attempts by individuals and groups to influence public policy is not a recent invention.

In Australia at the end of the nineteenth century women’s suffrage campaigners sought to change both public opinion and government legislation. Their target policy was not only suffrage but a range of public policies affecting women and children from temperance to child custody. Without the sophisticated strategies available to contemporary professional lobbyists, and lacking both the funding and social position to directly influence those in power, women resorted to innovative techniques to shape public policy. This paper focuses on the attempts to shape public policy in relation to child custody legislation in New South Wales by various women’s organisations in the first decades of the twentieth century with a particular focus on Millicent Preston Stanley’s strategies prior to and following her one term as the first woman elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly.

Dr Wendy Michaels is an Honorary Research Fellow in the School of Humanities, Faculty of Education and Arts at the University of Newcastle. Her research interests are Australian women political activists. She is currently working on a political biography of Millicent Preston Stanley the first woman elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly. She is a member of the Royal Australian Historical Society, the Australian Historical Association, The Australian Women's History Network and a Director and Heritage Convenor of The Women's Club.

Session 3: Speaker 2: Emeritus Professor Marian Sawer AO -Who speaks for women in the policy process?

Do women need an equivalent of the Minerals Council to get back on the agenda and influence policy? Gender gaps continue but there has been a decay of women’s policy machinery inside government, the muzzling of women’s peak bodies outside government and a signal lack of media interest. This presentation looks at questions of gender equality advocacy and access to the policy process.

Emeritus Professor Marian Sawer MA, PhD, AO, FASSA: Former Head the Political Science Program, RSSS, ANU. Head, Democratic Audit of Australia. Member of the International Political Science Association Executive and Co-Editor International Political Science Review. Program Co-Chair, World Congress of Political Science, Poznan, 2016. Chair Social Sciences Editorial Board, ANU Press. Member Editorial Boards Australian Journal of Politics and History, Australasian Parliamentary Review, Democratic Theory, Politics and Governance.

Session 4. Speaker 1:Rev. Dr John Moses - Two Sydney Professors and two World Wars: George Arnold Wood (1890-1928) and Stephen Henry Roberts (1928-1938): Prophets and Educators

Historians perceive themselves as political pedagogues. They arrogate to themselves the right to inform fellow citizens about the nation’s past and therefore they have the knowledge to tell the nation where it is going in the future. In this regard they are not unlike Old Testament prophets in ancient Israel. Little has changed in our time. Think of Manning Clark, Geoffrey Blainey or Stuart Macintyre and now Alan Atkinson – all worth “googling”. When G.A. Wood was appointed to the very first Chair of History at Sydney he came from Oxford with very clear ideas about his pedagogic role as a political educator. He was an avowed “Whig” historian and hence a militant liberal. Hence he campaigned vigorously against participation in the Boer War achieving most unwelcome notoriety, leading the Anti-War League. By contrast during the Great War he polemicised with even greater vigour against the Kaiser’s Germany.

Wood was succeeded by S.H. Roberts He became the country’s most high profile commentator on world affairs both in the Sydney Morning Herald and on ABC radio. He was even invited by the German Consul General Dr Rudolf Asmis to spend part of his 1936 sabbatical leave touring Nazi Germany with the expectation that Roberts would write a favourable report. Instead he published a best selling book, The House that Hitler Built in 1937 in which he fearlessly critiqued the evils of Nazi rule. This paper examines the self-perception of each scholar and explains why they took up cudgels so forcefully in the cause of decency and justice as they perceived it.

Rev. Dr. John Moses has degrees from the University of Queensland, University of Munich and has his D. Phil from the University of Erlangen, Germany. He has published widely on German labour history, the War Guilt Debate and the Fischer Controversy, German colonies in the Pacific, and the Church Struggle in both Nazi Germany and the Communist German Democratic Republic. As well he has specialised in the history of Anzac Commemoration as a form of civic religion. His latest books include Reluctant Revolutionary: Dietrich Bonhoffer’s Collision with Prusso-German History, and with George F Davis, Anzac Day Origins: Trans Tasman Commemoration. He has written over 100 for numerous academic journals. He is currently finishing a book provisionally entitled, Comprehending Anzac: Know Your Enemy which draws heavily on his early training in West Germany. He also reviews extensively for historical and theological journals, and is a Professorial Associate of St Mark’s National Theological Centre, Canberra.

Annual Lecture: Quentin Dempster - The media in Australia - distorting influences and redeeming efforts

Quentin Dempster is a journalist, author, broadcaster and well-known advocate for public broadcasting and journalism. He is current chairman of the Walkley Foundation board of trustees administering programs for digital media innovation, professional development and the annual Walkley Awards for excellence in Australian journalism. His long career includes a cadetship at the Queensland regional daily, The Maryborough Chronicle, the afternoon tabloid, the Brisbane Telegraph, the ABC for 30 years as a TV current affairs reporter, presenter and interviewer and more recently as contributing editor, The Sydney Morning Herald. He has been a columnist for the Telegraph, the Sunday Mail, and the Sun Herald. He was awarded an Order of Australia (AM) in 1992 for services to the media and a Walkley Award in 2002 for ‘outstanding contribution to journalism’. His documentary The Sunshine System, about institutionalised corruption in Queensland was broadcast by the ABC in 1986 to critical acclaim. He has written three books:  Honest Cops (1992) about people who stood up to corruption and suffered the consequences; Whistleblowers (1997) about people who put the truth first; and Death Struggle (2000) - ‘how political malice and board room power plays are killing the ABC’.

Session 4: Speaker 2: Professor Rodney Nillsen -Higher education policy and cultural change in universities

In 1988 the Labor government of Australia released the document “Higher Education: a policy statement”. The document, which became known as “The White Paper”, challenged and overturned many policy assumptions and attitudes of the past. It set new policies, procedures and objectives for higher education in Australia. These changes were not simply practical and immediate, for the White Paper implicitly embodied a markedly different longer-term philosophy towards universities and higher education, and changes in official attitudes towards management, academic staff, students and, indeed, education itself. The subsequent years of higher education policy are to be noted for their sustained direction and the ever increasing degree to which the management and educational philosophy of the white paper has been implemented and carried towards its logical conclusions.

In this paper, it is the intention to describe these polices and their accompanying management practices, and to evaluate the effects of these on changing the intellectual and wider culture in higher education, the perceived aims of higher education, the type of language used in discourse on higher education, and the purposes of universities in Australia.  The changes in higher education in Australia are not purely local and are similar, to varying degrees, in all developed countries, although they are perhaps most pronounced in Australia and the United Kingdom. These changes should not be viewed as special to universities. Rather, they are an area of public policy that is revealing of changes in some of the underlying implicit assumptions about society.

The presentation will be a description of the changes that have occurred.  It will refer to original documents, government papers, and reports commissioned by the government, such as the Bradley report, and other sources. The focus will be mainly on changes relating to or having an impact upon culture and attitudes, rather than financial matters, student numbers, demographics of the student body and the like. However, these do have cultural implications and relate to the purposes of universities.

Professor Rodney Nillsen was an undergraduate at the University of Tasmania, where he studied mathematics, science and literature. He completed postgraduate study at the Flinders University of South Australia under Igor Kluvánek.  He has held positions at the University of Malta, the Open University, Swansea University, and the University of Wollongong.  He holds a Doctor of Science degree from the University of Tasmania, and received a citation from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council in 2010.  He has published in the areas of mathematics, education and higher education policy. His book Randomness and Recurrence in Dynamical Systems was published by the Mathematical Association of America in 2010. He is currently an Honorary Professorial Fellow at the University of Wollongong.

Session 5 : Speaker 1: Dr Kerryn Higgs - Policy versus reality: the growth delusion.

The paper is in three main parts.

1. How did economic growth became the central element in government policy worldwide?

Growth was not conceived as a government objective before World War II. From 1950, however, economic growth was adopted as the central policy objective of governments, initially in the US, and gradually across the world. I will argue that this fostering of a “bigger pie” functioned as a convenient alternative to redistribution and that growth became the key organising principle of government policy well before the neoliberal makeover of policy thinking - but that it was eagerly adopted and amplified by neoliberalism. As the market became the accepted deliverer of all social and economic goals, existing policies of economic growth were accentuated. Neoliberal ideology now dominates all policy thinking in Australia and in most countries. As income tax was replaced by the GST, tax levels reduced, and notions of state responsibility for services eroded, the growth option became essential to maintaining government services.

2. What does this mean for the planet—and human civilisation?

I will then consider the history of growth and the ecological impacts that affect Nature and ultimately human civilisation itself. The economic growth of the past six to seven decades is unprecedented in human history. The impacts now jeopardise the future, as planetary boundaries are progressively breached. These boundaries (loss of biodiversity, disruption of nitrogen and phosphorous cycles, land-use changes, and global warming) are not being addressed systematically in policy-making, either nationally or globally. Projected temperature and sea level rises are just two examples of the disruption that may lie ahead for human projects. In Australia, the federal divisions of responsibility, much relevant power reserved for the states, and party divisions lead to policy oscillations in these areas. Economists have displaced scientists as the key advisors in our current growth economies. Vested interests capture one or both major parties and are not concerned to address the common good so much as to boost their profits. While environmental stability continues to be subordinated to growth imperatives, the breaching of planetary boundaries threatens the natural systems on which we depend. The conceit that we are independent of nature is widely held, so the intrinsic threat to human civilisation itself is underestimated.

3. Are there viable alternative policies of no or low growth policies that can avoid collapse and economic disaster. What are the alternative policies?

Dr. Kerryn Higgs is an Australian writer and historian who completed her PhD in Geography and Environmental Studies (GES) at the University of Tasmania.  Her book Collision Course: Endless Growth on a Finite Planet was published by MIT Press in 2014. Kerryn has also published a novel and articles on environment and politics. She taught history at Melbourne University; and creative writing, gender studies, and environmental studies at the University of New South Wales. She is currently a University Associate with GES and a Fellow with the Club of Rome. She lives in mid-north New South Wales.

Session 5 : Speaker 2: Glenn Burns - Shaping public policy in Australia: what of religion in relation to it?

Australia is said to be a secular society, but is it? The presentation will consider whether religions are playing roles in shaping public policy in Australia, and if so, in what ways. In the context of current immigration to and multiculturalism in Australia, and contemporary globalisation, public policy that can be shaped by religions will be explored. Attention will be given to some of the underlying norms associated and the values implicit, and the mechanisms by which they can shape public policy. Specific public policy formation areas considered will include education, public safety, sexuality and aged-care on the basis that they are aspects of life that most Australians regardless of personal religious preferences need to traverse. Attention will be given to citizens’ lived experiences, and society at large.

Some argue that religions can play important roles in public policy formation. One such role often stated sees religion as means to give people including policy makers their moral compass. Another is as advocates for the poor and disadvantaged. Discussion will ask whether this is the case, and examine the same. The nature of community discourse in relation to public policy in Australia will be discussed. Is there something atypical associated with the way we think about and discuss religion in relation to shaping public policy? If so, what are the differences vis-à-vis other discourse? and what if any are the opportunity costs?

Glenn Burns is currently a PhD candidate at Hokkaido University in Japan.  He completed his undergraduate and masters degrees at Macquarie University in Sydney Australia: the former a BA in History and Politics; the latter in International Security Studies focusing on social norms implicit to non-traditional threats, especially those relating to economy, food and health. His recurrent interests cohere around the mechanisms of power and control in human engagement, the symbiotic relationships between their idiosyncratic and systemic manifestations, the dysfunctional outcomes that tend to derive when control and power are used as ends rather than means, and their causes.

Session 6: Speaker 1: Ian Keese - Dissenting voices: the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901

Many interests were involved in the 1901 debate within the new Federal Government over formation of the Immigration Restriction Act (which came to be known as ‘The White Australia Policy’). These interests included those of employers and workers as well as the rights of individual states and the particular concerns of individual members. While in 1901 most Federal Parliamentarians were strongly in favour of the Immigration Restriction Act, this paper will focus on the few who either opposed it outright or had reservations about aspects of it and the extent to which these views, as well as outside interests, shaped the resulting policy. Finally there will be a reflection on what aspects of this process were distinctive to the time and what common factors of policy making were involved.

Ian Keese has degrees in the Biological Sciences from the University of New South Wales and an Honours Degree in the Humanities from Sydney University. He has been a Head of History Faculties in Public Secondary Schools and has been a major contributor to many history textbooks, including a set for the Australian Curriculum. He is a Fellow of the Australian College of Educators and has been Chair of their Policy Committee. He is a Past President of ISAA and a former editor of the ISAA Review.

Session 6: Speaker 2: Dr Bob Davidson - Competition Policy and Human Services

Over the last forty years, with the growing dominance of neo-liberalism world-wide, there has been an extensive and ever-expanding use of market mechanisms in the funding, provision, and consumption of many of the goods and services that government had funded or provided for much of the twentieth century.  Increasingly, this process of marketisation has encompassed human services, with the introduction and continuing extension of contestability, competition, ‘consumer’ choice, and ‘consumer’ payments in the funding and provision of these services. This issue is currently the subject of a Productivity Commission inquiry that has essentially been asked to identify where and how competition and ‘informed consumer choice’ can be further increased in human services in Australia.

Dr Bob Davidson is a researcher and consultant whose major interests are focused on the intersection of economics, social policy, and organisational theory. In recent years, his research and writing has largely concerned the economics and marketisation of human services, from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. Bob has had extensive experience in the government, community, and corporate sectors in Australia across a wide range of economic, social, and environmental fields. He has held senior positions with national and state government agencies, government business enterprises, and as an adviser to ministers.  He is currently a director of his consulting company Danett Associates, and an Honorary Fellow in Political Economy in the Department of Sociology at Macquarie University.

Session 7: Speaker 1: Craig Ritchie (AIATSIS) - Towards “As Aboriginal” Policy: Culture, framing and social construction in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Policy Enterprise.

This paper draws on my PhD research to interrogate the idea of policymaking as a cultural endeavour and consequently posits policy as a cultural artefact embodying particular values, norms and perspectives derived from an overarching normative social vision. I argue that in the context of the contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy enterprise, this social vision has its root in whiteness and the imperatives of settler colonialism, including Wolfe’s (2006) notion of the “elimination of the native”. I reflect on the way in which Aboriginal people are constructed and understood in policymaking, including various “non-Aboriginal Aboriginalities”, and how these are deployed to frame both the policy challenge and policy responses. Building on this I argue for a shift towards what I call an “as Aboriginal” approach to policymaking.

(Wolfe P. (2006) Settler colonialism and the elimination of the native. Journal of Genocide Research 8: 387-409).

Craig Ritchie is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). He was appointed to the position of Deputy CEO at AIATSIS in April 2016. Prior to joining AIATSIS, Craig worked in senior roles in the Australian Public Service, most recently in the Department of Education and Training 2011-2016, where he was Branch Manager for International Mobility and, before that, Manager of the Access and Participation Branch. Craig’s first degree was from the University of Newcastle. He has a post-graduate qualification in management and is currently undertaking research into Aboriginal culture and public policy making for a PhD.  In 2006 Craig was awarded a Churchill Fellowship to research models of Indigenous leadership in the USA and Canada.

Craig is an Aboriginal man of the Dhunhutti/Biripi nations.  He was born and raised in rural New South Wales. He is one of a small cohort of Indigenous public servants who provide significant leadership in the broader whole-of-government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs particularly as a member of the Commonwealth Indigenous Reform Group.

Session 7 : Speaker 2: Rod Little (National Congress of Australia’s First People) - Embracing the ‘R’ challenges in policy development:

‘Reflections, Relations, Respect, Results’

The presentation will identify and explore ‘the good, the bad and the ugly’ in relation to these four aspects of Indigenous affairs policy

Rod Little is of the Yamatji and Nyoongar nations from Geraldton and Perth in Western Australia. He is currently a Co-Chair of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples, to which he was  elected in November 2015 after previously being a Director on the Board of the Congress from 2011.  This is a challenging role, involving working with governments and policy makers as part of the from National Congress’ representative mandate on behalf of our members, communities and families. He lives in Canberra but frequently commutes to the Congress office in Sydney. He has a long employment history in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs, holding senior leadership positions across several social policy areas, including Indigenous Education in the Australian Public Service for over 15 years and a past vice President of the ACT Council of Social Services. He is currently leading an alliance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and supporter organisations under the Redfern Statement to reset the relationship with the Federal Government and Parliament to ensure effective engagement to enable policy and service delivery improvements for First Australians.


Annual Conference of the Independent Scholars Association of Australia Inc

See end of article for complete program plus abstracts and biographies for speakers.


Thursday 13 & Friday 14 October 2016

Fourth Floor Conference Room, National Library of Australia ACT

In its broadest sense the term public policy refers to the range of means by which government and public agencies determine or influence how society functions. In the shaping and making of any public policy, numerous individuals and groups may interact with government in competitive and collaborative ways to identify problems and influence policymakers to act in a particular way. The shaping of any public policy is rarely uncontested, and is commonly the outcome of the interaction of institutional structures, individuals and groups with differing values and power, economic and social forces, and unfolding events.

Participants will speak across a broad range of policy topics from many perspectives: political lobbying, issues of gender and education, historical and sociological concerns and indigenous policy. Political editor Chris Uhlmann will be talking about the melding of fact and fiction in politics.

Chris Uhlmann is one of Australia’s best known and most respected political broadcasters.  He began his journalistic career with The Canberra Times as a 29 year old copy kid, after failed stints as a student priest, storeman and packer and security guard. He co-hosted Canberra’s top rating breakfast program before switching to federal parliament as ABC radio’s chief political correspondent in 2006. He has anchored the flagship current affairs programs AM and 730 and in 2008 he won a Walkley Award for broadcasting interviewing. He is now the ABC’s political editor. He has co-authored three political novels with Steve Lewis: The Marmalade FilesThe Mandarin Code and Shadow Game (out in September). The first two have been made into a six part mini-series Secret City, which screened on Foxtel in June 2016. He is married to the federal member for Canberra, Gai Brodtmann.

The 2016 Annual ISAA lecture will be delivered by veteran broadcaster, Quentin Dempster, on ‘The media in Australia - distorting influences and redeeming efforts’, 5.30-6.30 pm on Thursday 13 October at the National Library of Australia.

ISAA acknowledges the support of the National Library of Australia in staging this conference. Download the 2016 Conference Program for all information about conference sessions and how to register.