The Healthy Welfare Card: indigenous empowerment or 'remote control'?

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This chapter examines one of the most significant potential coercive interventions by non-Indigenous Australia into the lives of Indigenous Australians, the Healthy Welfare Card. It argues that the Healthy Welfare Card is a continuation of white Australia’s historic efforts at coercive assimilation of Indigenous people into the mainstream. The chapter begins with an outline of the main historical features of white Australian attempts at controlling Indigenous access to cash, whether in the form of wages or of social security. It then considers the Northern Territory’s income management regime of 2007, a recent attempt to regulate Indigenous economic participation with significant similarities to the Healthy Welfare Card. Next, it examines the practice and operation of the Healthy Welfare Card more closely, before considering the extent to which the Healthy Welfare Card is likely to engender Indigenous resistance. Finally, the chapter considers how the Card might best be reformulated to avoid or mitigate the effect of these issues.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCritical Perspectives on Coercive Interventions
Subtitle of host publicationLaw, Medicine and Society
EditorsClaire Spivakovsky, Kate Seear, Adrian Carter
Place of PublicationAbingdon UK
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9781315158693
ISBN (Print)9781138067370
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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