From: People & Power

Two Australias

We investigate an Australian government programme to tackle poverty, alcoholism and violence in Aboriginal communities.

Julia Gillard has finally emerged out of Australia’s general election as the country’s first woman prime minister and leader of a new, Labour-led, minority administration.

The negotiations to gain the support of independent MPs were tough.

But one thing that barely figured on the agenda was indigenous affairs – an issue so far down the list of political priorities in Australia these days that it hardly featured in the election campaign of either main party.

Things were a little different three years ago. Back then, concern over the indigenous communities of the country’s Northern Territory was so serious the government sent in the army.

It was part of a wider interventionist policy aimed at bringing indigenous Australians into the mainstream, but was criticised by many for its heavy-handed approach.

So has it worked? Paul Eedle, who grew up in Australia, returned to investigate whether the programme has achieved its goals.