Professor Jon Altman has a disciplinary background in economics and anthropology. From 1983–90 he was a postdoctoral fellow, research fellow and senior research fellow in the Department of Political and Social Change in the HC Coombs Building.
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In this article, Jon Altman explores historical and contemporary policies designed to regulate activities in Aboriginal homelands in the Northern Territory.
For instance, on the Community Development Program (CDP), Professor Altman says “this malfunctioning program is more effective in punishing non-compliance than in generating jobs; it is impoverishing thousands”.
On the School Enrolment and Attendance Measure (SEAM) and the Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS), Altman says these programs “require kids to attend school or parents are financially penalised. As many homelands do not have schools, parents need to move to townships to access basic education. There is evidence that providing education at homelands and on country is more effective in increasing attendance.”
Altman concludes that “the current suite of programs based on paternalism and punishment is looking to recentralise homelanders for surveillance and to reprogram their subjectivities, or lifeways, to match those of mainstream Australians. And yet there is no evidence that any of this is working.”
You can read the full article in Land Rights News here on page 9.