Deficit discourse – the ‘regime of truth’ preceding the Cape York Welfare Reform

Campbell, Fiona (2019) Deficit discourse – the ‘regime of truth’ preceding the Cape York Welfare Reform. Griffith Law Review, 28 (3). pp. 303-325.

[img] PDF (Published Version) - Published Version
Restricted to Repository staff only

View at Publisher Website:


The Cape York Welfare Reform (CYWR) income management regime commenced in 2008. While this regime was supported and funded by the Queensland and federal governments, it was essentially developed by the Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership (CYI), which was known as an Aboriginal policy development think tank. Income management in Cape York involves quarantining between 60% and 90% of a person's social security payment, if the person is deemed to have breached particular social responsibilities. The decision to income manage social security payments of CYWR community members, was based on a belief and writings by the CYI that there was a social norms deficit in Cape York communities, which income management could play a role in addressing. The language used by the CYI to describe Cape York community life was negative in the extreme, dramatic and evocative. This language, which I describe as deficit discourse, commanded a response to what was described as a dire situation. This article frames this deficit discourse in the broader and continuing context of colonisation. This discourse has been applied consistently throughout Australia's colonial history, perpetuating racial discrimination and justifying continuous governmental intervention into Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's lives.

Item ID: 61893
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1839-4205
Keywords: Deficit discourse; Cape York; Welfare reform; Income management; Aboriginal; Torres Strait Islander; Special measure
Copyright Information: © 2019 Griffith University
Date Deposited: 11 Aug 2021 00:31
FoR Codes: 45 INDIGENOUS STUDIES > 4505 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, society and community > 450518 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the law @ 100%
Downloads: Total: 3
More Statistics

Actions (Repository Staff Only)

Item Control Page Item Control Page