Racial Contract as methodology: Experiences of ‘Indigenous employees’ in the Australian Public Service

Wednesday, 3 July 2019
Dr Debbie Bargallie
Juliana McLaughlin

Indigenous employees have struggled to maintain a dignified presence in the Australian Public Service (APS). This paper draws from a recent doctoral research which demonstrates the ways in which racial logics frame and order their everyday experiences. It also explores the impact of these racial frames in the functioning of Indigenous affairs. Charles Mills (1997) Racial Contract and critical race theory is operationalised as conceptual framework and methodology. Centring race through the virtue of the racial contract, this paper reveals the workings of this contract in the postcolonising Australian context. Through the voices of Indigenous participants as co-theorists, this paper paints a rich portrait of the working culture of the APS. This paper contributes to critical race scholarship in Australia to reveal the racialised workplace practices that are systemically mediated by institutional racism and guided by white supremacy to justify a system of privilege in the APS.