July/August 2010 Volume 7 Issue 19


This is my last edition of as the Editor of the Indigenous Law Bulletin. Over the last two years, we have seen significant ups and downs in Australia’s relationship with Indigenous people. Nationally and internationally, we sang along to Bran Nue Day, cried with Samson and Delilah and were inspired by the women of Yajilarra.

After five years without a national representative body, the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples is now open for business. After endorsing the  UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, we (again) have bipartisan support for federal constitutional reform. Several states have already amended their constitutions to recognise the special place of Indigenous people in Australian life. This month, we welcomed our first Aboriginal member into the federal House of Representatives.

While the Federal Government persists with long-term leases, Victoria introduced a Native Title Settlement Framework, the Yawuru people concluded a $200 million land use agreement and traditional owners in the Torres Strait secured their native title claim over waters between Cape York and Papua New Guinea. 

While school children will now learn about Sorry Day under the National Curriculum, the number of Indigenous children being placed in foster care has given rise to fears of a ‘Second Stolen Generation’. And, while the South Australian Supreme Court upheld Bruce Trevorrow’s right to damages, state and federal governments (excepting Tasmania) still refuse to consider a Stolen Generations compensation scheme.

We are still waiting for justice for Mulrunji and Mr Ward and are left to wonder, will things be any different for Andrew Bornen or Lyji Vaggs? Indigenous young people are chronically overrepresented and vulnerable in the criminal justice system. Yet – amazingly – it seems that a stolen Freddo Frog is sufficiently serious to warrant criminal charges.

The Prescribed Areas People Alliance brought the injustices of the Intervention before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and yet Barbara Shaw, federal Greens candidate for Lingiari and resident of Mt Nancy, still must seek an exemption from the BasicsCard.

It has certainly been an interesting two years.

To my friends and colleagues at the Indigenous Law Centre, to our Editorial Board, designer, contributors, artists, advisors, commentators and especially our readers – thank you for having me.


Constitutional Reform and Indigenous Peoples by Megan Davis and Dylan Lino

UN Mechanisms for Indigenous Peoples: A Personal Account of Participation in 2010 by Tammy Solonec

Teaching and Learning the Law: The University of Western Australia’s Pre-Law Program by Mel Thomas, Jill Milroy and Richard Bartlett

Closing the (Data) Gap by Nicholas Biddle and Mandy Yap

An Overwhelming Sense of Shame on National Sorry Day – R v Doody & Ors by Michael Brull

An Interview with Megan Davis by Jessica Trappel

Months in Review -July/August 
Compiled by Suzanne Mortimer and Zrinka Lemezina 

Archives of the ILB from Volume 1, Issue 1 (1981) to 6 (27) 2007 are available online athttp://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/AboriginalLB and http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/ILB/.

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