Dr Boyd Hunter
Australian National University
Dr Boyd Hunter works at the Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research, The Australian National University where he specialises in documenting the dynamics of Indigenous disadvantage within the labour market. His research, which is widely cited in the national and international literature, focuses on urban inequality, poverty, social exclusion, educational attainment of Indigenous Australians, industrial relations, welfare reform, Indigenous health and labour market discrimination. He recently finished a major monograph for the Australian Bureau of Statistics that documented the ‘Factors Underlying Indigenous Labour Force Status, 1981-2001’. Boyd was also a Ronald Henderson Research Fellow.
This lecture will draw heavily on two papers: ‘A historical perspective on Indigenous socioeconomic outcomes, 1971-2001’, written with Jon Altman and Nicholas Biddle, and ‘The role of discrimination and the exclusion Indigenous people from the labour market’, initially prepared for the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia Workshop, ‘Aborigines, Culture and Economy’. The lecture examines trends across a number of socioeconomic outcomes for Indigenous Australians from the 1967 referendum to the present, using census data. Overall, it is concluded that there has been a steady, although not spectacular improvement in outcomes over time, especially for education. However, it is not possible to discount ongoing labour market discrimination being a major factor impeding improvements in indigenous socioeconomic status. The high rates of arrest among indigenous people in both Australia and New Zealand are likely to be a major constraint on future improvements in both educational attainment and employment outcomes.