Accounting stewardship and the case of stolen indigenous wages in Australia

Miley, F. M., & Read, A. F. (2011). Accounting stewardship and the case of stolen indigenous wages in Australia. Paper presented at the 2011 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management, San Antonio.


This research examines government control of a portion of indigenous wages in Australia from the 1880s until the 1970s.  Although stated to be held for the protection of indigenous workers and their families, the abuses and mismanagement of the wages were inconsistent with legislative intent.  This research is from an accounting perspective.  It argues that an accounting stewardship divorced from its theological underpinnings was more likely to lead to create such outcomes than one rooted in a traditional theology or spirituality.  Although historical, the ongoing implications of government wage control are continuing as the indigenous population seeks redress for what are termed in Australia “stolen wages”.  This has broader relevance to accounting as the International Accounting Standards Board has now excluded stewardship as a purpose of accounting, further severing accounting from any morality or set of values, even though the accounting profession has long recognised that accounting is not a neutral and value-free reporting system.

Link to Academy of Management 2011 Annual Meeting Website (AoM login required to access paper)

Link to Paper (unrestricted access)


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