This book is a collection of key legal decisions affecting Indigenous Australians, which have been re-imagined so as to be inclusive of Indigenous people’s stories, historical experience, perspectives and worldviews.
In this groundbreaking work, Indigenous and non-Indigenous scholars have collaborated to rewrite 16 key decisions. Spanning from 1889 to 2017, the judgments reflect the trajectory of Indigenous people’s engagements with Australian law. The collection includes decisions that laid the foundation for the wrongful application of terra nullius and the long disavowal of native title. Contributors have also challenged narrow judicial interpretations of native title, which have denied recognition to Indigenous people who suffered the prolonged impacts of dispossession. Exciting new voices have reclaimed Australian law to deliver justice to the Stolen Generations and to families who have experienced institutional and police racism. Contributors have shown how judicial officers can use their power to challenge systemic racism and tell the stories of Indigenous people who have been dehumanised by the criminal justice system.
The new judgments are characterised by intersectional perspectives which draw on postcolonial, critical race and whiteness theories. Several scholars have chosen to operate within the parameters of legal doctrine. Some have imagined new truth-telling forums, highlighting the strength and creative resistance of Indigenous people to oppression and exclusion. Others have rejected the possibility that the legal system, which has been integral to settler-colonialism, can ever deliver meaningful justice to Indigenous people.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Megan Davis
Nicole Watson and Heather Douglas
Part 1: Sovereignty
1. Milirrpum v Nabalco Pty Ltd (1971) 17 FLR 141.
Essay: Oscar Monaghan
2. Cooper v Stuart (1889) 14 App Cas 286.
Commentary: Eddie Synot and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne
Judgment: Eddie Synot and Roshan de Silva-Wijeyeratne
3. Walker v NSW (1994) 182 CLR 45
Commentary: Tanya Mitchell and Amanda Porter
Judgment: Amanda Porter and Tanya Mitchell
Part 2: Land and Sea Country
4. Tickner v Chapman (1995) 57 FCR 451.
Commentary: Narelle Bedford and Peter Billings
Judgment: Narelle Bedford and Peter Billings
5. Members of the Yorta Yorta Abriginal Community v Victoria  HCA 58.
Commentary: Simon Young
Judgment: Marcelle Burns
6. Akiba on behalf of the Torres Strait Regional Sea Claims Group v Commonwealth of Australia (2013) HCA 33.
Commentary: Alison Whittaker
Judgment: Virginia Marshall
Part 3: Racism and Discrimination
7. Kartinyeri v Commonwealth  HCA 22.
Commentary: Larissa Behrendt and Taryn Lee
Judgment: Larissa Behrendt and Taryn Lee
8. Commissioner of Corrective Services v Aldridge (No. 2)  NSWADTAP 6.
Commentary: Debbie Bargallie and Jennifer Nielsen
Judgment: Jennifer Nielsen and Debbie Bargallie
9. Eatock v Bolt  FCA 1103.
Commentary: Simon Rice
Poem and Note: Alison Whittaker
Part 4: Family and Identity
10. Dempsey v Rigg (1914) St R Qld 245.
Commentary: Trudie Broderick
Judgment: Nicole Watson
11. State of South Australia v Lampard-Trevorrow  SASC 56.
Commentary: Terri Libesman
Judgment: Kirsten Gray
12. Backford & Backford and Anor (No 2)  FamCAFC 206.
Commentary: Keryn Ruska and Zoe Rathus
Judgment: Keryn Ruska and Zoe Rathus
Part 5: Criminalisation and Criminal Neglect
13. Roach v Electoral Commissioner  HCA 43.
Commentary: Jonathan Crowe and Dani Larkin.
Judgment: Dani Larkin and Jonathan Crowe.
14. Nona v Barnes  QCA 346.
Commentary: Heather Douglas and Heron Loban
Judgment: Heron Loban and Heather Douglas, translation Deenorah Yellub.
15. Bugmy v R  HCA 37.
Commentary: Mary Spiers Williams
Judgment: Mary Spiers Williams
16. Report of the Inquest into the Death of Miss Dhu (Perth, 16 December 2016).
Commentary: Suvendrini Perera
Judgment: Hannah McGlade
Heather Douglas is a Professor at the Melbourne Law School, The University of Melbourne.
Nicole Watson is a Munanjali and Birri Gubba woman from south-east Queensland. Nicole is an Associate Professor and Director of the Academic Unit, Nura Gili Centre for Indigenous Programs, University of New South Wales.