- Associate Professor Dominic O’Sullivan published article in cultural studies journal Ethnicities
- The co-authored article is about how New Zealand’s Treaty of Waitangi can be used to improve policy-making to benefit Maori health outcomes
- Professor O’Sullivan said the research shows the potential for treaties in Australia
A Charles Sturt University academic has published an article on how New Zealand’s Treaty of Waitangi can be used to improve policy-making and health outcomes for the Indigenous Maori population.
Associate Professor with the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and University Senior Research Fellow Dominic O’Sullivan had his article ‘Introducing Critical Tiriti policy analysis through a retrospective review of the New Zealand Primary Health Care Strategy’ published in the journal Ethnicities.
Professor O’Sullivan co-authored the article with Dr Heather Came at the Auckland University of Technology, where Professor O’Sullivan is an Adjunct Professor in the Centre for Maori Health Research, and Professor Tim McCreanor at Massey University.
Professor O’Sullivan said the research argued that applying the Treaty of Waitangi’s affirmation of Maori control over their own affairs and rights to equal citizenship means that Maori health policy should be developed by Maori people and its implementation should require Maori approval.
“This means that Maori expectations of what health policy should achieve are at the forefront,” he said.
“Maori knowledge can be used in policy development, and Maori values determine whether or not a proposed policy should be implemented.”
Professor O’Sullivan said this approach could be applied in Australia and negotiated into treaties with the state, if Indigenous nations wanted that.
It would show that treaties need not be measures of symbolic recognition, but could change how and by whom health policy is made and would potentially improve Indigenous health outcomes.
“Although treaties are not required to ensure Indigenous policy leadership, clauses that respect an Indigenous nation’s authority over its own affairs and that acknowledge that Australian citizenship implies equal capacity to influence decision-making can have far-reaching effects,” Professor O’Sullivan said.
The article on treaties and health policy is available to view online.