A missed opportunity: silencing of the Indigenous ‘Voice’ in Australian health policy

Event details


Date & time

Tuesday 01 November 2022


Seminar Room 1.04 Coombs Extension Building #8 Fellows Road ANU


Tony Kiessler


RegNet Communications

Successive Australian governments have sought to overcome Indigenous disadvantage, but it remains an intractable policy issue. Policy makers are grappling with the interrelated and increasingly complex concepts that drive Indigenous health and social advancement.

This seminar is based on a qualitative study that examines Australian Indigenous policy making through the lens of democratic policy design. The study focuses on the interpretation and reinterpretation of Indigenous health issues and perspectives as part of implementing the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Plan 2013-2023 (Health Plan). The Health Plan was developed following extensive consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and communities from across Australia. The subsequent translation of that health plan into practice saw many key Indigenous concepts of health – culture, rights, history and traditional beliefs – ‘sanitised’ or silenced.

The silencing of Indigenous concepts and perspectives is examined from the perspectives of policy makers, senior managers and Indigenous health experts. The seminar will explore the substantive differences between the language and definitions identified in the Health Plan and consider the mechanisms that have influenced the translation of the policy into practice.

This is Indigenous-led research that draws on Indigenous cultural and knowledge frameworks. It extends the application of democratic policy design to Australian Indigenous health policy and promotes opportunities for meaningful stakeholder engagement in policy and practice.

This seminar is Tony’s final PhD presentation.

About the speaker

Tony Kiessler is a Central Arrernte Man and PhD scholar at the ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance. His research interests are in health policy, health equity, social inclusion and Indigenous health. Tony also advises on international health and Indigenous participation and inclusion in international development. Tony is a current Board Member of the Australian Evaluation Society.

COVID protocols

The ANU strongly encourages you to keep a mask with you at all times (for use when COVID-19 safe behaviours are not practicable) and to be respectful of colleagues, students and visitors who may wish to continue to wear one. Please continue to practice good hygiene. If you are unwell, please stay home. The ANU’s COVID Safety advice can be accessed here.

This seminar presentation will be in-person only.

Image credit: Image by Tanja Gerls from Pixabay

Updated:  10 August 2017/Responsible Officer:  Director, RegNet/Page Contact:  Director, RegNet