The 'S' Word and Indigenous Australia: A New Variation of an Old Theme

Australian Society of Legal Philosophy
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Journal Article
Australian Journal of Legal Philosophy, 2006, 31 pp. 127 - 141
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According to the President of the ALP, Warren Mundine, Indigenous Australians have to earn their sovereignty.1 Similarly, the current conservative Federal government has labelled self-determination for Indigenous Australia a failed experiment and the former Minister for Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, Senator Amanda Vanstone likened the existence of a separate Indigenous electoral structure as akin to apartheid saying, There was once a country we wouldn t play cricket with because they had separate systems .2 It is this tenor of public debate and discussion on Indigenous issues in Australia that makes Indigenous Sovereignty and the Democratic Project an important and timely reminder to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that liberal democracies are capable of accommodating cultural difference, especially the Indigenous populations of settler states. It is an important reminder to Indigenous peoples that despite the conservative milieu, these kinds of ideas the importance of revisiting and rebuilding public institutions to achieve the goal of reconciliation between black and white Australia continue in the minds of academics and public intellectuals in Australia.
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