Since the early 1970s Commonwealth Governments have been pursuing policies of self-determination/self-management in relation to Aborigines. In 1987, the Hawke Government announced its intention to establish an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) to further this policy goal. During the debates over ATSIC's formation, the issue of public accountability in the existing administration of Aboriginal affairs came to public prominence. The result was some extensive reworking of the ATSIC proposal, which in 1989 re-emerged with a strengthened emphasis on public accountability. This article traces the events and arguments surrounding ATSIC's formation and then goes on to examine ATSIC in practice. It asks whether ATSIC is succeeding in reconciling the two imperatives of Aboriginal self-determination/self-management and public accountability.
ISBN: 0 7315 1725 3