Reports and publications (published elsewhere)

Cultural disconnection- EDR schemes and Indigenous Australia

Posted on: 17 January, 2011
Issue: Vol 11 No 1, January 2011 – March 2011
Related to Cultural ways

Collins MR (2010)
Cultural disconnection- EDR schemes and Indigenous Australia
Brisbane: Australian Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (ACPACS), University Of Queensland

External Dispute Resolution (EDR) schemes play an important role in resolving consumer disputes. This paper argues that EDR schemes involving Indigenous Australians cannot adequately meet their needs. EDR schemes require a willingness to first engage with the concept of cultural fluency and then to act on the research. This includes methods of communication, individual identity versus family and community identity, employing Indigenous workers, flexibility in procedural steps, what is acceptable evidence and incorporating a non-capitalist definition of property rights. The paper argues that current EDR schemes are culturally placed within the dominant political and social worldview of affluent, urban Australia. By accepting this position there are three points that would better focus EDR schemes to be more suitable to Indigenous Australians.

1. Symbolic recognition of Australia’s first peoples provides respect and acknowledgment. This includes Welcome to Country or acknowledging country that sends a message to the broader community that the history and current situation of Indigenous Australians is important.

2. Cultural fluency of staff involved with EDR.

3. Improving partnerships that involve developing processes that are flexible and specific rather than general and fixed.

Australian Indigenous HealthInfoNet abstract

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