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Aborigines In The Defence of Australia

Ed: Desmond Ball (580.14/36036
Publisher: ANU Press From HMAS Watson

The contribution of Aborigines to Australian defence has never been properly described or assessed. Many Aborigines gave valuable service in both the First and Second World Wars. Indeed, during the Second World War, one in six of the Aborigines in northern Australia actively supported the war effort - a higher proportion than the enlistment rate among the Australian population as a whole. Today, Aborigines comprise more than a quarter of the membership of NORFORCE, which is responsible for patrolling about a quarter of the Australian land mass. Aborigines possess skills and local knowledge which are invaluable for the defence of northern Australia.

This book is designed to provide all the information required for informed consideration of the potential role of Aborigines in the defence of Australia, for clarification and resolution fo the disparate and complex issues involved, and for the design of policy initiatives to realise the potential of Aborigines in Australia's defence planning operations.

It includes a comprehensive account of the contribution made by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders to Australia's defence during the Second World War, a detailed description of the demographic and socio-economic aspects of contemporary Aboriginal settlement in the Northern Territory; a case study of Eastern Arnhem Land; an authoritative discussion of the legal aspects of defence operation on Aboriginal land; and proposals for realising the potential which Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders offer for the defence of Australia.

It argues that there are sound defence grounds. In addition to the interests of justice, for supporting Aboriginal recovery - including the return of Aboriginal lands.

This book is essential reading for Australians interested in defence issues as well as those concerned about justice for our Aboriginal citizens.

February 2009

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