The purpose of this paper is to make visible the relationship between accounting and stigma in the absence of accounting. This research examines how failure to implement mandatory accounting and auditing requirements in the management of indigenous wages contributed to stigmatisation of indigenous Australians and led to maladministration and unchecked financial fraud that continued for over 75 years. The accounting failures are by those charged with protecting the financial interests of the indigenous population.
An historical and qualitative approach has been used that draws upon archival and contemporary sources.
Prior research has examined the nexus between accounting mechanisms and stigma. This research suggests that the absence of accounting mechanisms can also contribute to stigma.
This research highlights the complex relationship between accounting and stigma, suggesting that it is simplistic to examine the nexus between accounting and stigma without considering the social forces in which stigmatisation occurs.
This research demonstrates decades of failed accounting have contributed to the ongoing social disadvantage of indigenous Australians. The presence of accounting mechanisms cannot eradicate the past, or fix the present, but can create an environment where financial abuse does not occur.
This research demonstrates that stigma can be exacerbated in the negative space created by failures or absence of accounting.
Miley, F. and Read, A. (2018), "“This degrading and stealthy practice”: Accounting, stigma and indigenous wages in Australia 1897-1972", Accounting, Auditing & Accountability Journal, Vol. 31 No. 2, pp. 456-477. https://doi.org/10.1108/AAAJ-10-2014-1839Download as .RIS
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