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Indigenous Military Inclusion: A Settler Colonial Critique of the Regional Force Surveillance Units

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-02-06, 04:12 authored by Federica CasoFederica Caso
In the context of this special issue's inquiry into whether it is possible to decolonise Australian international relations, this article investigates the service of Indigenous people in the Australian Defence Force (ADF). The military is a crucial site to investigate the colonial state of Australian international relations not only because it is an institution that performs key international relations practices such as war and diplomacy, but also because it defines and projects the identity of the state both domestically and internationally. In the past two decades, there has been a sustained effort to include Indigenous people in the ADF. An inclusive and multicultural defence purports to represent a post-colonial state where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people stand next to one another for the defence of their shared country. However, in Australia, Indigenous people do not enjoy the wealth of the nation equally and remain dispossessed from their land and economically disadvantaged. Using discourse analysis of publicly available materials praising Indigenous military inclusion, this article argues that the inclusion of Indigenous people in the Australian Defence Force risks further entrenching the settler colonial project.


Publication Date



Australian Journal of Politics and History











Rights Statement

© 2023 The Author. Australian Journal of Politics & History published by The University of Queensland and John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes.