Unmasking the Racial Contract examines racism in the APS

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

A new book by Kamilaroi and Wonnarua author, Dr Debbie Bargallie, has implored people to recognise institutionalised racism in the public sector and challenge it.

Unmasking the Racial Contract: Indigenous voices on racism in the Australian Public Service was launched today by the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). The original and innovative book, written from an Indigenous standpoint, is the first to use race as a key framework to critically examine the discrimination faced by Indigenous employees in an Australian institution.

Dr Bargallie says that she was determined to build on her PHD research and promote diverse Indigenous voices through her book, to tell a collective story of contemporary racism experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants.

“It was really important for me to get the story out there, about our lived experiences, which is contradictory to the way that people understand what our experiences are in the public service,” Dr Bargallie said.

“I shared my experiences in the book alongside the experiences of other Indigenous employees. All of our experiences tell one collective story as a journey. That’s a journey I call one of solidarity, resistance and survival.”

AIATSIS CEO, Craig Ritchie, commended the high quality research which underpins Unmasking the Racial Contract and said it offered not only criticisms of racism in the APS, but practical solutions as well.

“It is wonderful to see Dr Debbie Bargallie’s important research become a published book after winning the Stanner Award last year”, Mr Ritchie said.

“The timely work is a proud addition to the Aboriginal Studies Press catalogue and highlights not only that racism exists in workplaces, but that there are ways to address it and build equity and cultural understanding in the public service and all professions in to the future.”

Unmasking the Racial Contract: Indigenous voices on racism in the Australian Public Service is now available to order online.

Watch our video below of Dr Jackie Huggins AM and author Dr Debbie Bargallie discussing the importance of telling the lived experience of Indigenous peoples and contributing to the critical race scholarship within Australia.

Media enquiries

Commsmedia@aiatsis.gov.au or P: 02 6261 4241

Last reviewed: 24 Jun 2020