Unmasking the Racial Contract: Indigenous voices on racism in the Australian Public Service
Debbie Bargallie


Paperback | Jun 2020 | Aboriginal Studies Press | 9781925302653 | 256pp | 230x153mm | GEN | AUD$39.95, NZD$47.99

Winner of the 2019 Stanner Award

Growing numbers of Indigenous people in Australia are entering historically white, structurally racist workplaces. Unmasking the Racial Contract is a study of one such workplace: the Australian Public Service. Bargallie shows that despite efforts to be a space of fairness, inclusion, opportunity, respect and racial equality, Indigenous employees in the APS continue to languish on the lower rungs of the institutional ladder.

This original and innovative book, written from an Indigenous standpoint, is the first to use race as a key framework to critically examine the discrimination faced by Indigenous employees in an Australian institution. Bargallie provides an insiders perspective, privileging the voices of other Indigenous employees and applying critical auto-ethnography to unmask the 'racial contract' that underpins the 'absent presence' of racism in the Australian Public Service. This racial contract is maintained through the everyday racism that faces Indigenous employees in the workplace. Bargallie provides an important counter-narrative to the pervasive myth of meritocracy, encouraging readers to consider the effects of the racial contract in colonial–colonised relations in Australia more broadly.