Handbook on Global Social Justice
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Handbook on Global Social Justice

Edited by Gary Craig

In the fifty years since Rawls seminal work A Theory of Justice, the concept has been debated with those on the political right and left advocating very different understandings. This unique global collection, written by a group of international experts, offers wide-ranging analyses of the meaning of social justice that challenge the ability of the market to provide social justice for all. The Handbook also looks at how the theory of social justice informs practice within a range of occupations or welfare divisions.
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Chapter 8: Social justice in Australia: ending the over-representation of Indigenous children in out-of-home care and returning them to their communities

Philip Mendes


This chapter discusses the nature of social justice in Australia through the lens of a detailed investigation into the treatment of aboriginal/Indigenous people and, in particular, their children. In the twentieth century, many of these children were ‘stolen’ by the white-dominated Australian federal and state governments and given to settlers to adopt and bring up in western traditions. A significant number of the children were abused. The author reviews the campaigns of the past 30 years that have sought to stop this practice, return the children to their natural families and assert their traditional identities in the context of wider struggles, particularly over land rights and economic exploitation. The chapter examines the failure of Australian governments to address policy recommendations, and dissects the varied causes of the rapid rise in the number of Indigenous children entering the out-of-home care system.

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