Representing 'Australian Land'
Mainstream Media Reporting of Native Title
This article examines how Indigenous Australians' claims to their land are represented in the mainstream, non-Indigenous Australian media. In so doing, the article explores the common tropes available to non-Indigenous Australians in relation to Indigenous ownership of land, and in particular the native title system. It is argued that whilst initial land claims are discussed in detail within the media from a variety of perspectives, subsequent Indigenous land use agreements are most commonly reported upon in terms of business and economic concerns, with 'failed' agreements represented as impediments to 'development'. Thus, whilst the claims of Indigenous Australians to their land are sometimes reported positively by the media, this is only insofar as native title does not impede business development, which is frequently represented as the way in which land ultimately ought to be used. Thus non-Indigenous readers are left with an image of native title whereby initial land claims are considered not to be threatening, but only to the extent that subsequent use of the land still fits a white Australian image of 'development'.