Swain, S L. (2016). Enshrined in Law: Legislative justifications for the removal of indigenous and non-indigenous children in colonial and post-colonial Australia. Australian Historical Studies,47(2), 191-208. Australia: Routledge. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1080/1031461X.2016.1153119
While the completion of two different inquiries, along with separate apologies and reparation packages, might suggest that the policies justifying the removal of Indigenous and non-Indigenous children in Australia were distinct, the situation is far more complex. Both child and ‘native’ welfare were colonial and later state responsibilities, creating the potential for policies and practices to be informed by different forces and to vary by jurisdiction. However, by analysing the debates around legislation from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this article establishes commonalities as well as differences in both the arguments used to justify Indigenous and non-Indigenous child removal and the practices that evolved in the implementation of such legislation. By interrogating such arguments through the lens of whiteness and race, the article identifies the role which child removal was imagined to play in the process of building the settler colonial nation.
Open Access Journal Article