The framing of ATSIC Chairman Geoff Clark in the Australian

Document Type

Journal Article


The School of Journalism and Communication, University of Queensland

Place of Publication

St Kucia, Queensland


School of Communications and Contemporary Arts




Heinritz,L., & Josephi, B.U. (2006). The framing of ATSIC Chairman Geoff Clark in the Australian. Australian Studies in Journalism, 17, 17 - 40. Journal website available here.


This article looks at the frames used in the Australian's coverage of indigenous leader Geoff Clark, from his re-election as chairman of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) at the end of 2002 until the agency’s demise in March 2004. The authors find two divergent ways of reporting indigenous issues. The Geoff Clark case highlights the ideological divide between proponents of the so-called “rights-based agenda” in indigenous affairs and those that favour the “responsibilities-based” agenda. This article shows that the Australian, as a leading proponent of the federal government’s responsibilities-based policy agenda, in summary, framed the perceived turmoil in organisation’s indigenous leadership and the perceived ineffectiveness of ATSIC as a failure of indigenous self-determination.