History, Citizenship, Life Chances and Property: Implications for Governance
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This section addresses citizen’s perceptions of quality of life and governance at the time of the research and needs to be read in conjunction with the discussion of the concept social capital in chapter 7. Analysis reveals a sense that governance could be improved through more participation by Indigenous people. But it was stressed that participation could only occur when reconciliation is achieved through health, education and employment opportunities. Informants also demonstrated that they understood the connections across issues and that alcohol is part of a web of cause and effect that could not be addressed merely by means of the control of alcohol availability. The other issues identified are that poor people pay more for basic services. Overall the comments made by respondents and informants express at worst an unwillingness to engage in discussion because of their cynicism about the role of government. This was summed up by an informant as follows ‘To be a resident of Alice Springs is almost like being a member of a company town’ (Anon personal communication 1999), because most of the business is government business associated with maintaining the human and economic systems. The Territory at the time of the initial research had been subject to the rule of one party for many years. The legal system, human service professionals, the churches and some human rights organisations led the attempts at reforming mandatory sentencing for property crimes at the time of the research, because of the impact the legislation had on the lives of Indigenous citizens.
KeywordsYoung People Social Capital Domestic Violence Indigenous People Aboriginal People
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