Larissa Behrendt: Why is overcoming Indigenous disadvantage so hard?

Larissa Behrendt: Why is overcoming Indigenous disadvantage so hard?

In this Lunchbox/Soapbox presentation, prize-winning novelist, Professor of Law and 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year Larissa Behrendt addresses the lack of progress on Indigenous issues in Australia.

Behrendt argues for a closer examination of the claim that Aboriginal self-determination is a “failed experiment”. She also interrogates the case of the Northern Territory intervention, citing the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act as a turning point in sidelining the importance of human rights in a politicised, polarising and emotional debate.

Behrendt suggests that the idea of mutual obligation has been plagued by misguided incentivising and a less-than-thorough understanding of Indigenous needs.

Offering some key examples of self-improvement, she laments governments' dismissal of the capacity and creativity of disadvantaged communities.


Portrait of Larissa Behrendt

Larissa Behrendt

Larissa Behrendt is a Professor of Law and Director of the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology Sydney, who completed a Master of Laws and a Doctorate at Harvard Law School in 1994 and 1998.