Little, A; Adi, I; Achwan, R
(Taylor and Francis, 2017)
Since 2010 the political agenda on addressing Indigenous-settler relations in Australia has been dominated by the debate on constitutional recognition. On many levels this debate has been unsatisfactory but in this paper we focus on three particular issues that we argue should be the focus of continuing analysis of indegenous-settler relations regardless of the outcome of the constitutional recognition process. First, we contend that efforts to reconcile Australia need to recognize the conflictual nature of Indigenous-settler relations and that, as many conflicts, this requires management rather than resolution. Second, we suggest that this debate needs to pay greater attention to ongoing conflictual relations rather than a mere accounting for the wrongdoing of the past. Third, we unpack the constitutional recognition debates to demonstrate that—regardless of the core issue of Indigenous-settler relations—the ongoing process of reconciliation needs to address the conflicts within non-indigenous people over the appropriate course of action. Therefore, rather than solely relying on indigenous peoples to drive the process (and bear responsibility if it fails), there needs to be a future-oriented engagement involving non-indigenous people across their political divisions if the aspiration towards an ongoing process of reconciliation is to be achievable. Until the internal conflicts within non-indigenous people are identified and ventilated, Australia falls a long way short of being in a position to address and managed internally the conflict between indigenous peoples and the state.