Remote Indigenous policy: lessons from the Northern Territory intervention

The presentation seeks to articulate a broader analysis of the Northern Territory intervention than is usual, drawing on the emerging literature on political settlements to analyse the interests which shape remote Indigenous policy development, and assess their salience in the lead up to the intervention. The presentation explores the intellectual ideas around the concept of 'crisis' and 'intervention' for government policy and examines the interplay between structure and agency in the genesis of the intervention, its aftermath, and into the future. Taking the remote housing program which rolled out in the aftermath of the intervention as a case study, a number of policy relevant 'lessons' are proposed which will likely be influential in shaping future remote policy approaches.

The approach adopted is thus not intended as a critique of the intervention per se, rather as an analysis of what it meant and means for government policies directed to remote Indigenous Australia.


Michael Dillon is a Visiting Fellow at CAEPR. Early in his career, he worked for Aboriginal communities in the East Kimberley and for the Central Land Council in Alice Springs. Later in his career Mike was Chief Executive of the NT Department responsible for local government and remote Indigenous housing, policy adviser to Minister Jenny Macklin, a Deputy Secretary in FaHCSIA, and CEO of the Indigenous Land Corporation. With Neil Westbury, he is the author of Beyond humbug: transforming government engagement with Indigenous Australia (Seaview Press 2007).



Date & time

Wed 25 Oct 2017, 12.30–2pm


The Jon Altman Room, COP2145, 2nd Floor Copland Building, Kingsley Place, The Australian National University


Mike Dillon


Tracy Deasey
02 61250587


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