The manufacture of crisis 

Dr Gary Robinson will present the first lecture in the October series of CDU's Public Lecture Series

Dr Gary Robinson, co-director of the School for Social and Policy Research, will open Charles Darwin University’s free public lecture series on Tuesday (October 3) by exploring the crisis in Indigenous policy-making.

Entitled The Manufacture of Crisis, Dr Robinson’s lecture will argue that government policies towards Aboriginals have frequently failed.

He says policies are poorly grounded in an understanding of the complexity of the conditions in which Indigenous people live and the transitions occurring within their societies.

“Policy in Australian Aboriginal affairs has yielded to a pragmatic orientation to social outcomes, driven by the engines of the ‘new welfare’ including service-led community development, ‘reciprocal obligation’ and a growing list of national benchmarks,” he says.

“In this world, Aboriginal societies are communities, but societies no longer. They are increasingly defined, not by distinctive cultures and social processes, but by their need for partnership with government to deal with symptoms of dysfunction and social failure.”

The inadequacy of current policy and the determinants of key social outcomes are some of the issues Dr Robinson will cover during his lecture at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory at Bullocky Point, Darwin, from 6pm.

Entry is free. Light refreshments will be served afterwards.

Dr Robinson will be introduced by Professor Stephen Garnett, Chair of Tropical Knowledge, School for Social and Policy Research.

It is the first in CDU’s Local Experts: Global Issues series each Tuesday in October that provides a platform for university experts to air their views on critical issues in contemporary thinking.

Media welcome to attend. Further information on

Contact: Richie Hodgson, Marketing Communications Officer, 8946 6270