March/April 2011 Volume 7 Issue 23


In the first Indigenous Law Bulletin (‘ILB’), (previously the Aboriginal Law Bulletin) the Editorial was entitled Just more words? The inaugural editor, Neil Rees foreshadowed possible criticisms and asked the question ‘is this just another journal devoted to an academic study of legal niceties?’ The ILB is more than words; it provides a space for people in the community to write about the impact of the Australian legal system upon Indigenous Australians. It provides Indigenous and non-Indigenous readers from diverse personal and professional backgrounds with quality commentary on the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the law.The ILB enables legal practitioners, advocates, policy-makers researchers and community members in one part of the country to learn about the legal developments and challenges being experienced by Indigenous people on the other side of the country. No other Australian law journal provides such an essential service.

Since 1981 the ILB has facilitated discussion, celebrated legal achievements and attracted commentary from some of the country’s leading legal minds - this has not changed in 30 years. The ILB continues to report on emerging legislation, policy, case law and international developments, as well as grass-root activism and the work of Indigenous communities and organisations.

This edition includes commentary from The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, Indigenous Law Centre (‘ILC’) Director Megan Davis, Emeritus Professor Garth Nettheim, Anne Barton, Linda Burney MP, Janette Murdoch and Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Service. This edition also includes speech extracts from former Prime Ministers Paul Keating and Kevin Rudd.

In a paper appropriately entitled Of words and Realities, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG reflects on the apology delivered by Kevin Rudd and the Northern Territory Intervention. Emeritus Professor Garth Neithem, the foundational director of the ILC reflects on the last 30 years of the ILC and ILB. Anne Barton, the great granddaughter of Sir Edmund Barton shares her reflections on her identity. Linda Burney MP reflects on her experiences in parliament and the importance of the ILB. The ILC Coordinator Janette Murdoch highlights the importance of the ILC and ILB whist noting the challenges.

The ILC Director Megan Davis analysis the male construction of self determination. This edition also includes an update from Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Service.

The ILB will continue to provide a public forum for continuing dialogue on the legal and social injustices Indigenous peoples face in pursuit of the full realisation of their rights in Australia and throughout the world.

April Long


Some Reminiscences by Garth Netthiem

A Reflection on the limitations of the right to self-determination and Aboriginal women by Megan Davis

Just more constitutional words?  by Neil Rees

Of words and Realities by Michael Kirby

Federal Government Apology PM Kevin Rudd

Going White: Claiming a radicalised identity through the White Australia Policy by Anne Barton

Australian Launch of International Year of the World’s Indigenous peoples PM Paul Keating

Interview with Hon Linda Burneyby April Long and Simone King

Aboriginal women speaking out about violence: Is anyone listening Reflections of Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Centre

Interview with Janette Murdoch Indigenous Law Centre (ILC) Coordinator by April Long

Has anything changed in 30 years? Wesley Edwards Jabanardi v AMP Fire and general Insurance Co. Ltd & Ors by Neil Rees

National Indigenous Apology Anniversary The Hon Kevin Rudd MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs


Archives of the ILB from Volume 1, Issue 1 (1981) to 6 (27) 2007 are available online at and

Stay Connected