The Nature & Extent of Racism in ACT Public Service Settings

Current project

School: Business


The Australian Capital Territory Public Service (ACTPS) is committed to the values of Respect, Equity and Diversity, and seeks to continually improve its workplace environments. The Chair of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body identified a concern about the nature and extent of systemic racism in the ACT community and public service. The ACT Government has a range of reporting systems that capture reports of bullying and harassment however it is difficult to determine if these reports reflect specific incidences of racism. There is anecdotal evidence about experiences of racism in ACT Public Service settings.

This anecdotal evidence is consistent with scholarship that demonstrates instances of everyday and systemic racism embedded in public services across Australia and beyond (Larkin 2013; O’Faircheallaigh and Althaus 2019; Bargallie 2019).

  • Althaus, C. and O’Faircheallaigh, C. (2019). Leading from Between: Indigenous Participation in Public Services. Montreal: McGill-Queens Press.
  • Bargallie, D. (2019). Unmasking the Racial Contract: Indigenous voices on racism in the Australian Public Service. Aboriginal Studies Press. 
  • Larkin, S. (2013). Race Matters: Indigenous Employment in the Australian Public Service. PhD thesis, Queensland University of Technology. 

Description of Work: 

This project seeks to identify and understand instances where racism has occurred, and any action undertaken to resolve an incident or to mitigate further instances across a range of ACTPS front line workplace environments. The objective is to ascertain a dataset to aid ACTPS to commence a long-term strategy to combat racism through new approaches and tools. In so doing, the research will identify areas of potential change in ACTPS systems and processes to help address and reduce everyday and systemic racism. 


The project is open to Masters and PhD applicants.

Applications are particularly welcome from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander candidates. The successful candidate will receive full access and support from the ACTPS to conduct this research and will be encouraged to frame and conduct the research using Indigenous research methodologies.