'The title of this lecture is "Universities and Aborigines: are they compatible?". I will be approaching this topic by providing you with an historical background to Aboriginal higher education; with some pertinent thoughts on this history from an Aboriginal perspective which is both critical and celebratory.
'The Development of Aboriginal Higher Education
'In 1972 the Australian Labor Party won federal office under the leadership of the Honourable Gough Whitlam. By this time it was obvious that Aborigines had successfully rejected assimilation into the wider Australian community. The new Prime Minister introduced the Self Determination Policy for Aborigines, and established the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) which led to the implementation of programs in education, health, legal aid, medical care and housing following consultation with Aboriginal people. This period also marked the evolution of Aboriginal higher education in Australia with the implementation of the Aboriginal Task Force program (ATF) in 1973 within the School of Social Studies, at the South Australian Institute for Technology, with the purpose of training a task force of Aborigines to work in the area of social welfare. Initially the intent was that the program should only operate for a two year period and then be abandoned. Because of the success of the first group of students, and the recommendation of an evaluation at the end of the first year, it was allowed to continue and develop providing the higher education sector with a blue print for what are now known as Aboriginal support programs.'
(Source : University of New England)