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Anglo-Australian Law: Encounters with Indigenous Australians

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This presentation is aimed at offering law teachers with a knowledge foundation of key Anglo-Australian legal frameworks aimed at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

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Anglo-Australian Law: Encounters with Indigenous Australians

  1. 1. A knowledge foundation for law teachers Dr KateGalloway | Centre for Professional Legal Education | Bond University Anglo-Australian Law: Encounters with Indigenous Australians
  2. 2. Our responsibility • Cultural competency: all students • Inclusive teaching, reaching Aboriginal &Torres Strait Islander students • Serving Aboriginal &Torres Strait Islander communities in their intersections with the law • Preparing graduates for the workplace (eg RAPs)
  3. 3. Background concepts Indigenous peoples (globally) Australia’s Indigenous peoples Right of self-determination (UNDRIP) The effect of the law on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians Ambelin Kwaymullina, Indigenous Peoples and the Law: Support for SessionalTeachers (15 November 2016) Smart Casual
  4. 4. What do you ‘know’ about Indigenous peoples?Where does that knowledge come from, and how has it influenced the way you perceive (and teach) material related to Indigenous peoples and legal issues?
  5. 5. A legal framework Sovereignty | Land | Citizenship | Human Rights | Makarrata
  6. 6. History informs the present https://www.theguardian.com/australia- news/2018/jan/25/indigenous-children-in-care- doubled-since-stolen-generations-apology https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2016/04/15/infogr aphics-indigenous-incarceration-australia-glance https://nacchocommunique.com/2016/05/13/naccho-health-news-alert-150- million-for-reform-of-remote-aboriginal-communities-not-spent/
  7. 7. 7
  8. 8. SOVEREIGNTY Legal framework establishing the Australian state
  9. 9. [you are..] with the consent of the Natives to take possession, in the name of the King of Great Britain, of convenient situations … (Captain Cook’s instructions, 1776)
  10. 10. Acquiring sovereignty over a territory…the European way •Conquest •Cession Inhabited land: •Settlement Uninhabited land:
  11. 11. Through European eyes: ‘inhabited’ country…
  12. 12. ‘Uninhabited’ country
  13. 13. Sovereignty on trial Decision Held McDonald v Levy (1833) Australia was an ‘uninhabited country’ and that Aboriginal people who ‘lived without certain habitation and without laws were never in the situation of a conquered people. Cooper v Stuart (1889) NSW: a ‘tract of territory practically unoccupied, without settled inhabitants or settled law, at the time when it was peacefully annexed to the British dominions.’ Coe v Cth (1979) Sovereignty cannot be challenged in the domestic courts: act of state doctrine See, eg: Kate Galloway, ‘FactCheck: can native title ”only exist ifAustralia was settled, not invaded”?’ The Conversation (28 January 2018)
  14. 14. Sovereign nation at international law Domestic courts cannot determine validity of nation’s sovereignty Only international courts have jurisdiction The Act of State doctrine
  15. 15. Shoring up power: Scope of authority …[you are to] conciliate their affection in order to live in amity and kindness.. (Governor Phillip’s instructions)
  16. 16. Mapping massacres (https://c21ch.newcastle.edu.au/colonialmassacres/map.php)
  17. 17. Dispossession: not just historical Scott Ludlum @SenatorLudlum Twitter 13 March 2015
  18. 18. My ancestors never signed away our ancient laws or ceded sovereignty. Our ancient laws are not extinguishable.They were not created by humans and they cannot be extinguished by them, through whatever processes they devise. It is not that simple. The old people know the law and its onerous obligations. Obligations which hundreds of Aboriginal peoples still carry today. IreneWatson, ‘There is no Possibility of Rights without Law: So UntilThen, Don'tThumb Print or SignAnything!’ (2000) 5(1) Indigenous Law Bulletin 4
  19. 19. ‘Without certain habitation’: if only they looked See, eg: Bill Gammage, The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia (Allen & Unwin, 2012) Images: https://www.countryneedspeople.org.au/burning_for_biodiversity_the_b enefits_of_indigenous_fire_management (Country Needs People) http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-06/fish-trap-heritage/5185828 (Western Catchment ManagementAuthority)
  20. 20. ‘Without laws’: If only they looked The evidence shows a subtle and elaborate system, highly adapted to the country in which the people led their lives, which provided a stable order of society and was remarkably free from the vagaries of personal whim or influence. If ever a system could be called a ‘government of laws, and not of men’, it was shown in the evidence before me. Milirrpum v Nabalco (1971) 17 FLR 141, 267 http://indigenousrights.net.au/land_rights/yirrkala,_1963-71/a_legal_challenge
  21. 21. LAND RIGHTS Legal framework establishing property
  22. 22. English law or local law? Conquest • Existing law remained unless/until altered Cession • Existing law remained unless/until altered Settlement • Reception of coloniser’s law Inhabited Uninhabited
  23. 23. Eddie Mabo: I know who owns my land, and it’s not you…* Edward Koiki Mabo (1936– 1992) Original hand-drawn map … 1981–1992 ink & coloured felt-tip pen on paper 32.5 x 20.4cm | Manuscript Collection, MS 9518 | National Library of Australia | http://nationaltreasures.nla.g ov.au/index/Treasures/item/nl a.ms-ms9518-1-1x-s1 *Not a quote
  24. 24. Mabo alters relationship between sovereignty & land Radical title • Belongs to crown • Power to grant land Full beneficial title • Belongs to traditional owners • Can be extinguished Once native title extinguished… Crown has full title
  25. 25. Sovereignty Radical title Right to grant land Customary law Native title Land rights Compare 1770: 40-60,000 years
  26. 26. Mabo and land rights pros cons See eg: Kate Galloway, Australian Politics Explainer: Mabo and Native Title The Conversation (27 April 2017)
  27. 27. CITIZENSHIP Legal framework establishing equality before the law
  28. 28. All inhabitants became subjects of the King http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Cove
  29. 29. Equality before the law? Exclusion of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander laws Dispossessed of land Culture, self- determination disrupted Retribution against Indigenous people massacres Without consequence for English No enforcement of law against English Crimes not investigated Indigenous complainants can’t testify
  30. 30. Citizenship: franchise 1885 • Elections Act Qld • ExcludedAboriginal people 1930 • Torres Strait Islanders excluded • ‘half caste’ people also excluded 1962 • Right to vote in Commonwealth elections 1965 • Right to vote in Qld for all Aboriginal &Torres Strait Islander people
  31. 31. The 1967 referendum: counting • The people of any race, other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws. Power to make laws s51(xxvi) • Aboriginal people can be counted to determine electorates • Census, other govt figures can now include Aboriginal people • Re-weighted value of Aboriginal votes Repeal s127
  32. 32. 1. The ‘67 referendum was not about citizenship 2. Aboriginal andTorres Strait IslanderAustralians were not part of a ‘Flora and FaunaAct’ But be mindful of the symbolism of these statements Davis &Williams, EverythingYou Need to Know about the Referendum to Recognise Indigenous Australians (2015), 35 See also: Sushi Das, ‘Fact check:Were IndigenousAustralians classified under a flora and fauna act until the 1967 referendum?’ The Conversation (12 July 2018)
  33. 33. Protectionism
  34. 34. Protectionism: is this citizenship?
  35. 35. Not just historical… See, eg: IreneWatson, 'In the NorthernTerritory intervention: what is saved or rescued and at what cost?' (2009) 15(2) Cultural Studies Review 45 On alcohol management plans: Kate Galloway, ‘Grog or No Grog?’ (2013) 38(1) Alternative Law Journal
  36. 36. Stolen children: equality before the law? BringingThem Home Report of the National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander Children fromTheir Families (April 1997) Nick Evershed and Lorena Allam ‘Indigenous children's removal on the rise 21 years after BringingThem Home’ The Guardian (25 May 2019)
  37. 37. Stolen wages: equality before the law? http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/economy/stolen-wages
  38. 38. Assimilation: equality before the law? Northern Territory News 16 February 1954
  39. 39. A question of perspective Exploration Pastoralism Federation Protectionism Assimilation Self- determination
  40. 40. All law is implicated… • Civil procedure, evidence: JenniferClarke, ‘Commonwealth Not Liable: Cubillo and Gunner v Commonwealth’ (2000) 5(2) Indigenous Law Bulletin 11 • Trusts:ThaliaAnthony, ‘Indigenous StolenWages: Historical Exploitation and Contemporary Injustice’ (2013) 118 Precedent 42 • Torts:ThaliaAnthony, ‘Frameworks for Including Indigenous Issues inTorts: Stolen Generations Case Study’ (2002) 4 Ngiya: Talk the Law 30 40
  41. 41. Questioning Anglo- Australian law’s legitimacy No case can command unquestioning adherence if the rule it expresses seriously offends the values of justice and human rights (especially equality before the law) which are aspirations of the contemporaryAustralian legal system. Brennan J Mabo v Qld (No 2) [29]
  42. 42. Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples Article 8 1. Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right not to be subjected to forced assimilation or destruction of their culture.
  43. 43. …the underlying assumption is that State sovereignty and territorial integrity are privileged over the rights of Indigenous peoples to be self-determining.That they have a higher claim to protection. In fact just the opposite is true… William Jonas, ’NativeTitle and theTreaty Dialogue’, speech delivered at a seminar hosted by the Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and the International LawAssociation, 10 September 2002
  44. 44. MAKARRATA Voice |Treaty |Truth
  45. 45. Australia’s foundation legal instruments: Indigenous peoples’ sovereignty (a selection) Yirkkala Bark Petitions (1963) Barunga Statement (1988) EvaValley Statement (1993) ATSIC Social Justice Package (1995) Kalkaringi Statement (1998) Kirribilli Statement (2015)
  46. 46. Solutions: Constitutional Recognition? • Expert panel (2012) • Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander People (2015) • Indigenous dialogues (Uluru Statement) (2017) • Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (2018) When will it end?? 47
  47. 47. The Australian polity does not want to surrender parliamentary sovereignty. Aboriginal peoples don’t want to cede sovereignty. The dialogues negotiated a way through these two points. … [T]he dialogues threw up a novel idea that not a single constitutional lawyer had contemplated: that a “voice” to the parliament could monitor the use of the race power and the territories power. And, more practically, the voice could have multiple functions, the most important being direct input into decisions that are made about law and policy that affect Aboriginal andTorres Strait Islander peoples. Megan Davis, ‘ToWalk inTwoWorlds’ The Monthly (July 2017)
  48. 48. Uluru Statement from the Heart Treaty is a nation-to-nation process that requires leverage and resources …The Voice is a structural reform that compels the state to listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in policy- and decision-making. …truth-telling…localised and grow[ing] out of the agreement-making process, or commenc[ing] at any time. …a nation cannot recognise people they do not know or understand.The Aboriginal experience in Australian history is critical to recognition. Megan Davis,The long road to Uluru:Walking together – truth before justice (2018) 60 Griffith Review
  49. 49. WHAT DOESTHE FUTURE HOLD? Righting wrongs
  50. 50. The one thing my people have never given up on, despite forensically documenting in our collective memory the capacity of law to oppress, is the capacity of law to redeem. Megan Davis, ‘ToWalk inTwoWorlds’ (July 2017) The Monthly
  51. 51. Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better future for our children based on justice and self- determination. Megan Davis,The long road to Uluru:Walking together – truth before justice (2018) 60 Griffith Review
  52. 52. Swings & roundabouts: 50+ years 1965 Freedom ride 67 referendum Land Rights Act NT Racial Discrimination Act 1975 MaboRCIADIC ‘Bringing them Home’ Apology Intervention Expert panel - recognition Makarrata ??
  53. 53. Reflection: An allegory • The Rabbits (Part 1) • The Rabbits (Part 2) 54
  54. 54. HOW DOESYOURTEACHING ENGAGE WITHTHESE CONTEXTS? HOW DOYOU FULFILL THE PROMISE OF LAW?

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