December 2006/ January 2007 Volume 6, Issue 24

The first edition of the Indigenous Law Bulletin always puts its editors in something of a unique position where we are afforded the opportunity to look upon the significant events at the close of one year while also viewing the unfolding issues and themes of the new year. Toward the end of 2006 we witnessed international and local events of enormous significance to Indigenous Australians. In November of 2006 the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly elected to defer consideration of the Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. It aims to conclude its consideration of the draft declaration by the end of the current session. The shock and disappointment of Indigenous leaders and advocates was summed up in one leader’s statement on the importance of the draft declaration, devised and drafted over the past 24 years: it is ‘the most important international instrument for the promotion and protection of the human rights of indigenous peoples.’

On a local level, we have seen the debate over ‘political intervention’ in judicial matters after the death of Mulrunji in police custody on Palm Island in 2004. The issue can be followed broadly through the regular ‘Recent Happenings’ section of the Indigenous Law Bulletin and specifically through an article in this edition by Geraldine Mackenzie, Nigel Stobbs and Mark Thomas. This article looks at the decision by Queensland’s Director of Public Prosecutions (‘DPP’) to not recommend charges on Senior Sergeant Chris Hurley over the death of Mulrunji and examines the role of both the DPP and the Coroner in examining the pertinent issues in this and similar matters. This article was written before the independent review by Sir Laurence Street and the subsequent exercise by the State’s Attorney-General of his First Law Officer powers to bring charges of manslaughter and assault.

The first edition for 2007 is kicked off by the Indigenous Law Centre’s new Director, Megan Davis. Here Megan outlines her vision for the vibrant future of the Centre while also detailing her own background and goals. The Indigenous Law Centre is thrilled to welcome Megan.

Our November 2006 edition of the Indigenous Law Bulletin focusing on young Indigenous people drew a strong response from potential authors – so much so that we publish here another article. Terri Libesman from the University of Technology, Sydney writes about child welfare issues and calls for a new approach to Indigenous child welfare, one which truly recognises the importance of culture and acknowledges a past of welfare intervention and oppression which has left scars of mistrust.

Also in this edition, we publish an important analysis by Zoey Irwin of the Single Noongar decision and the way in which this decision can be distinguished from the Yorta Yorta decision of 1998-2002. The author discusses the historiographical debates as an integral element of a native title decision and analyses the conclusions made in each circumstance.

Continuing our 25th birthday celebrations, this edition’s reflection is introduced by former editor Natasha Case. The articles Natasha has chosen to reproduce reflect a continued concern over the lack of implementation of recommendations arising from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and the understanding of conceptual issues surrounding the recognition of native title.

Archives of the ILB from Volume 1, Issue 1 (1981) to 6 (19) 2006 are available online at <> and <>.

General Edition

Welcome to the ILC: New Director, Megan Davis

'What really happened' versus 'What we can prove': tension between the roles of Coroner and DPP in Queensland
by Geraldine Mackenzie, Nigel Stobbs and Mark Thomas

Indigenising Indigenous Child Welfare
by Terri Libesman

Does good governance equal good outcomes?
by Justin Noel

Wilcox J and Olney J: A comparative analysis of historical assumptions in the Yorta Yorta and Single Noongar decisions
by Zoey Irvin

Special ILB Anniversary Reflection

The Long Road
by Natasha Case

Indigenous Law Bulletin Volume 5, Issue 8, May 2001

Introduction to the 10th Anniverary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Special Issue
by Michael Dodson

Indigenous Law Bulletin Volume 5, Issue 3, October 2000

Principles of Communal Native Title
by Noel Pearson

Warning: Readers are advised to note that the above section may contain names of and references to Indigenous persons who are now deceased.


Recent Happenings December 2006
Recent Happenings January 2007

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