Abstract: Indigenous people are more likely to be discouraged from looking for work than other Australians. Data from the 1994 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Survey are used to analyse the factors that lead many indigenous people who want to work, to not seek work and hence remain outside the labour force. This article confirms the importance of labour supply factors (including family, cultural and social environmental factors) but also emphasises the interaction between the supply and demand side of the labour market. An important finding is that indigenous people want to work as much as other Australians. This means that policies aimed at increasing the demand for their services are crucial. Two examples of the latter are education and regional development policies. The article also argues that a broader definintion of the discouraged worker should be considered for all Australians.
Notes: An interesting recent paper analysing the desire of indigenous people to be part of the Australian workforce. It emphasises the importance of labour supply factors for indigenous persons. It is interesting to note this paper reporting that indigenous people want to work as much as other Australians because this statement is opposite to Altman's findings in his paper entitled 'Aborigines, Tourism and Sustainable Development' (see Altman 1993). Also, the paper by Trigger (2002) argues the question of whether indigenous people really want to be part of the working environment due to cultural beliefs.