Clash of the paradigms: Night patrols in remote central Australia

Researcher

Ms Jennifer Walker-Turner

Summary

This thesis explores the origins of Night Patrols in Remote Central Australia and how they address the necessity of developing new forms of social regulation, which acknowledge Indigenous cultural laws and ways of knowing in Central Australia.

It explains the impact of diverse origins of remote Aboriginal communities, whether they are mission or pastoral, on the functionality of both the settlements and their Patrols. The thesis also identifies the most significant forms and sources of risks to health and safety in remote Aboriginal settlements in the region, with a particular focus on alcohol, substance misuse and violence. It investigates some forms of Aboriginal conflict such as “jealousing” that have no non-Indigenous equivalent and explains why the Patrols, being cultural insiders, are particularly effective at mediating and resolving these forms of conflict.

Outcomes

The thesis identifies the most significant threats to the functionality and sustainability of remote settlement Patrols as the result of the recent imposition of culturally alien operational modes and models, largely as a result of the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER, or ‘the Intervention’), and the simultaneously implemented new NT Shire system of local government.

The thesis concludes that the new operational Patrol regimes are not congruent with the essential basis in cultural law of remote Aboriginal settlement Patrols, and that this is the factor that represents the most significant threat to their ongoing effectiveness, functionality, and existence.

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

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