Article Title

Being Indigenous in the Bureaucracy: Narratives of Work and Exit


Australia’s civil service has had some success in attracting substantial numbers of Indigenous employees. But significant numbers also regularly exit the bureaucracy. Retaining Indigenous employees is recognised as an ongoing difficulty for government. This research with former and current Indigenous civil servants outlines factors they identify as contributing to decisions to leave the bureaucracy. A key finding involves their general sense of being underutilised and undervalued— that forms of experience and understanding as Indigenous people go largely unrecognised within government, which in turn constrains their potential to meaningfully contribute to improving government relations with Indigenous Australians or to enhancing the effectiveness of the bureaucracy more broadly. Work as an Indigenous civil servant emerges as a space of contestation with the possibilities and limits of statecraft.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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