About the condition of the Aborigines of Australia

Cunneen, Chris (2012) About the condition of the Aborigines of Australia. In: Dassonville, Stephane Pessina, (ed.) Le Statut des Peuples Autochones: a la croisée des savoirs. Karthala, Paris, France, pp. 261-264.

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[Extract] Lex Wotton has been silenced by law. It is not his own Aboriginal law, but the law of a neo-colonial society that imposes itself on a marginalised people. Anglo-Australian law and policy has always sought to silence Indigenous peoples in Australia. The doctrine of terra nullius was the original silencing of the colonised. Indigenous peoples had no right to speak of their law or society because they did not exist as peoples with culture or organised social life. Despite more recent recognition of native title to land, the courts continue to uphold that Aboriginal peoples 'have no legislative, executive or judicical organs by which sovereignty might be organised' (Coe v Commonwealth (1979) 24 ALR 118 at 129). Without sovereignty, Indigenous peoples remain neither within the nation-state with recognised rights, nor fully outside the colonial society as separate independent people. They are suspended on the margins without a right to speak. 'What assertion of sovereignty by the British Crown necessarily entailed was that there could be thereafter no parallel law-making system in the territory over which it asserted sovereignty'. (Members of the Yorta Yorta Aboriginal Community v Victoria(2002) 194 ALR 538 at 552). Like Lex himself, the laws of Aboriginal peoples in Australia were struck mute.

Item ID: 24483
Item Type: Book Chapter (Non-Research)
ISBN: 978-2-8111-0762-8
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Title [French]: À propos de la condition des Aboriginès d’Australie

Date Deposited: 16 May 2013 01:51
FoR Codes: 16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1608 Sociology > 160803 Race and Ethnic Relations @ 50%
18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law @ 50%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940401 Civil Justice @ 20%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 50%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940403 Criminal Justice @ 30%
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