Examines the issues arising from the enforcing of a Western form of accountability on the Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) peoples. Aboriginal organizations such as the ATSI Commission (ASTIC) are set up under a policy of self‐determination. Policy makers need to balance the tension between the policy of self‐determination and the need for accountability. This tension may be expressed as a conflict between Aboriginal organizations’ (or agents’) accountability to governments (or principals) and their responsibility to “higher principals”, their “Dreaming Law”. Seeks an understanding of Aboriginal culture and highlights areas of conflict between systems of financial accountability and Aboriginal culture. Unless systems of accountability applied to the Aboriginal context take into account Aboriginal culture, they can be disempowering and alienating. Recommends further dialogue with the ATSI peoples to develop a more enabling form of accountability.
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