Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Communications Honours


School of Communications & Media Studies


Faculty of Communications and Creative Industries

First Advisor

Dr Beate Josephi


This study looks at the frames used in the Australian newspaper's coverage of Indigenous leader Geoff Clark, from his re-election as chairman of the Aboriginal and Tones Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) at the end of 2002 until the agency's demise in March 2004, and finds two divergent ways of reporting Indigenous issues. In summary, the Geoff Clark case study highlights the ideological divide between proponents of the so-called "tights-based agenda" in Indigenous affairs and those that favour the "responsibilities-based" agenda. When established in 1990, ATSIC was viewed as a significant step towards Indigenous self-determination. With official federal government policy shifting away from self-determination to a focus on a non-symbolic issues (Ruddock, 2003), ATSIC's future was always in doubt. This thesis shows the Australian, as a leading proponent of the federal government's responsibilities-based policy agenda, has framed the perceived turmoil in organisation's Indigenous leadership and the perceived ineffectiveness of ATSIC as a failure of Indigenous self-determination.