Accounting in the service of genocide:stolen wages in Australia 1897-1972

Frances Miley, Andrew READ

    Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


    This research considers accounting in the context of wages earned by indigenous Australians
    between 1897 and 1972. Up to 75 per cent of these wages were compulsorily placed into
    government trust accounts . The remainder of the wages money was to be paid in cash to indigenous
    workers. "Stolen wages" refers to the systemic failure to pay this money to indigenous Australians .
    We examine the failure of accounting practices and audit processes in the management of indigenous
    wages held in trust and to be paid in cash. These failures led to widespread financial
    mismanagement and fraud of indigenous wage money, created severe economic hardship among the
    indigenous population and contributed to genocidal outcomes consistent with the definition of
    genocide. Cultural hegemony provides a framework for understanding that accounting failure is not
    accidental when it contributes directly to the oppression of indigenous Australians. Previous
    accounting research has considered the use of accounting as a control mechanism to support
    genocidal policies. Our research suggests that the culpability of the accounting for supporting
    genocidal outcomes should be broadened to include cases of deliberate failure to implement
    accounting control mechanisms and audit processes required by law and government policy.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationSeventh Accounting History International Conference Refereed Conf Proceedings: innovating from the past
    EditorsJuan Banos
    Place of PublicationSeville, Spain
    PublisherSeventh Accounting History International Conference
    Number of pages27
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    EventSeventh Accounting History International Conference - Seville, Spain
    Duration: 25 Sep 201327 Sep 2013


    ConferenceSeventh Accounting History International Conference


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