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ERIC Number: EJ960787
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 23
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0155-0640
Policy and Indigenous Languages in Australia
McKay, Graham
Australian Review of Applied Linguistics, v34 n3 p297-319 2011
The use of Indigenous languages has been declining over the period of non-Aboriginal settlement in Australia as a result of repressive policies, both explicit and implicit. The National Policy on Languages (Lo Bianco, 1987) was the high point of language policy in Australia, given its national scope and status and its attempt to encompass all aspects of language use. Indigenous languages received significant recognition as an important social and cultural resource in this policy, but subsequent national policy developments moved via a focus on economic utility to an almost exclusive emphasis on English, exacerbated by a focus on national literacy standards. This is exemplified in the Northern Territory's treatment of Indigenous bilingual education programs. Over recent years there have been hopeful signs in various states of policy developments supportive of Indigenous languages and in 2009 the Commonwealth Government introduced a new National Indigenous Languages Policy and a plan for a national curriculum in languages. Support for Indigenous languages remains fragmentary, however, and very much subservient to the dominant rhetoric about the need for English skills, while at the same time ignoring research that shows the importance of Indigenous and minority languages for social well-being and for developing English language skills. (Contains 1 figure.)
Applied Linguistics Association of Australia. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia