Unsettled Great South Land? 'Um' indeed

Galloway, Kate (2014) Unsettled Great South Land? 'Um' indeed. Curl: Property law, women and law, contemporary legal issues, 4 July 2014.

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Abstract

[Extract] The Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, in a speech concerning foreign investment is reported as having said

"I guess our country owes its existence to a form of foreign investment by the British government in the then unsettled or, um, scarcely settled, Great South Land."

Similarly, this week New Matilda reported on Rolf Harris' racism, noting his 2008 comments that

"The attitude is that in their [ie Aboriginal peoples'] original way of life they would really wreck the surrounding countryside that they lived in and they would leave all the garbage and they would go walkabout to the next place."

Without addressing the implications of the Prime Minister's equating English acquisition of Australian territory with the benign sounding 'foreign investment', the allegation of a 'scarcely settled' land deserves correction. Like Rolf Harris' statement, it represents a misunderstanding of the nature of connection, occupation and use of land by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. While I cannot speak for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, I believe that I can point out the obvious mistake in these outdated notions.

The foundation of the misunderstanding of the nature of original occupation of Australia rests with Anglo-European ideas of the justification of property and of territory. These are two different ideas, but their foundation lies in similar thinking.

Item ID: 37113
Item Type: Article (Commentary)
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Curl: Property law, women and law, contemporary legal issues is the blog of Kate Galloway and is available at http://katgallow.blogspot.com.au/ (15 April 2015)

Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2015 06:27
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law @ 100%
SEO Codes: 94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940499 Justice and the Law not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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