Indigenous Law Bulletin 8(16)


We are kicking off the new year with our second special edition on Indigenous constitutional recognition. In this edition, we hear from some great young Aboriginal scholars who are becoming an important part of the discussion on constitutional reform.

Wiradjuri man Pete Dawson writes on self-determination and why constitutional recognition is a chance for substantive change. As a young campaigner, Pete believes constitutional recognition will continue the important work started by Indigenous Elders decades ago. He writes, ‘For many in my generation, we see this as an important way to carry on the legacy of those who have come before.’

UNSW Juris Doctor student and Wiradjuri woman, Teela Reid, writes passionately on how a republic could help to create a better sense of national identity. Teela argues that ‘recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique position in Australia must contemplate the adverse impacts of colonial symbolism.’

Also in this edition are three great speeches on constitutional reform made at the end of last year. Marion Scrymgour explored constitutional change through the lens of the Northern Territory; Prime Minister Tony Abbott discussed why the Constitution should be changed in his Neville Bonner Oration; and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten spoke about the pathway forward to achieving meaningful recognition in his address at the inaugural ‘Recognise’ Gala Dinner, held in Redfern.

Heading overseas, recent UNSW Juris Doctor graduate, Anna Harley, explores how the New Zealand treaty experience might work in Australia. And I am very pleased to share the work of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission with an article by Sandy Lamalle from the University of Montreal.

In addition to our constitutional reform papers, I’ve included two articles on some concerning issues currently happening in Western Australia. Ambelin Kwaymullina, Blaze Kwaymullina and Lauren Butterly look at the Aboriginal Heritage Amendment Bill 2014. Many Aboriginal organisations remain concerned that the proposed changes will weaken Aboriginal voices. And Amanda Porter from the University of Technology Sydney discusses the heartbreaking case of ‘Miss Dhu’, a young Indigenous woman who died in police custody last August following her imprisonment to ‘pay down’ fines.

As always I welcome your comments, feedback and submissions to:

Rebecca Gallegos

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