Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

  • Progress towards Voice referendum welcome

    24th Mar 2023

    Yesterday’s announcement of the wording for the proposed constitutional amendment to enshrine an Aboriginal Voice to Parliament is very welcome progress towards this important referendum.

  • ‘Too great a cost’: The High Court’s ruling in the Garlett appeal highlights the need for a Human Rights Act

    13th Oct 2022

    ‘The Garlett High Court case shows the urgent need for a federal Human Rights Act and even constitutional protection of human rights by way of a Charter or Bill of Rights. Indefinite detention such as that sought in relation to Peter Garlett is a form of arbitrary detention … Aboriginal incarceration must only happen as a matter of last resort’ write Dr Hannah McGlade and Dr Harry Hobbs.

  • Children and the justice system

    8th Sep 2022

    'Only five years after the landmark Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse exposed the shocking abuse of children and young people across this nation over decades, one is tempted to say plus ça change', writes Greg Barns SC.

  • On After Story

    7th Jul 2022

    Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt is a Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman, legal academic, filmmaker and award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction titles. In the Telling Hard Stories and Re-Grounding in Culture session at the South Coast Writers Festival last month, Larissa called After Story her most autobiographical novel to date. She also said she doesn’t think it’s amazing that Aboriginal people have survived for 65,000 years; she thinks it’s amazing that they’ve survived the last 200.

  • 30 years since Royal Commission: criminal justice system still fails First Nations people

    14th Apr 2021

    Australia’s criminal justice system continues to fail First Nations people 30 years after the findings of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody were handed down, say lawyers.

  • Fighting racism in the healthcare system

    8th Apr 2021

    Despite the common belief that the Australian health system treats everyone equally, George Newhouse and Karina Hawtrey argue that the system operates in a way that disproportionately excludes and harms First Nations people. They discuss the ways in which legal advocates can recognise and assist in fighting racism, including by implementing firm-wide anti-racism policies and taking on cases of medical negligence faced by First Nations clients.

  • Protecting everyone’s rights benefits us all

    11th Mar 2021

    Australia’s human rights performance was closely scrutinised in the UN’s recent Universal Periodic Review. Hugh de Kretser discusses the review’s recommendations to improve our rights protection, and outlines its concerns on issues including Australia’s low age of criminal responsibility, economic hardship during COVID-19, the Government’s response to climate change, and the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and of refugees and people seeking asylum.

  • Rethinking access to racial justice

    12th Nov 2020

    Despite initial expectations, race discrimination laws have not made as strong a contribution as they might have to First Nations peoples, partly due to problems relating to access to justice and, in particular, the under-utilisation of anti-discrimination legal remedies.

    Dr Fiona Allison and Jodie Luck discuss potential solutions which include reform of the mainstream legal system informed by First Nations peoples’ needs and perspectives, and support of community-led responses to racism, including those likely to increase awareness of legal rights.

  • High Court Don Dale ruling: timely reminder that police & prison officers need to follow the law

    3rd Jun 2020

    Today’s High Court decision, which found that the tear-gassing of four teenagers in Darwin's Don Dale Youth Detention Centre was unlawful, holds the prison system to account for the inhumane treatment of the teenagers in their care.

  • The High Court proposes new rules about Aboriginal societies

    28th Nov 2019

    Next week the High Court will hear argument on whether the common law’s recognition of customary native title logically entails the recognition of an Aboriginal society’s laws and customs, and in particular that society’s authority to determine its own membership, and whether there is a unique obligation owed to members of Aboriginal society. But have stakeholders been given enough time for meaningful intervention?

  • Legal and welfare checks should be extended to save Aboriginal lives in custody

    12th Sep 2019

    Professor Thalia Anthony argues that to prevent deaths in custody, a custody notification service must be properly funded and available to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in custody, including those who are detained in protective custody or following a paperless arrest.  

  • Aboriginal group launches defamation case against Channel 7

    11th Jul 2019

    Peter O’Brien represents a group of clients from the NT community of Yirrkala, who are suing Channel 7 in the Federal Court following a segment that was broadcast on Sunrise Breakfast. In June, Channel 7 attempted that argue that the community members’ Statement of Claim should be struck out.