Illiberal and Unmodern
Conservative columnists on Indigenous self-determination in Australia and Canada
Conservative newspaper columnists have played a critical role in helping to create public ideas conducive to the most recent assault upon the unremarkable liberal principle of Indigenous self-determination. This was begun by Australia’s conservative Liberal
government in the mid-1990s—and is continued by the Labor government today. This paper discusses the creation of those ideas as part of a regressive discourse of neo-assimilation circulating in the media and public sphere more widely. It examines comparable, recent opinion columns from the Australian and Canadian press to illustrate
the transnational continuity of this discourse. Specifically, I describe three key, interlocked rhetorical tactics that are used by conservative columnists in both countries to defame Indigenous self-determination as a failed, anti-modern and anti-democratic ideal.
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© borderlands ejournal 2010