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  • The 25th Anniversary of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

    Posted 15/04/2016 by James Haughton

    The 15th of April 2016 marks 25 years since the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody handed down its final report, which set many directions in current Indigenous policy. The commission was established in 1987 by the Hawke government, and examined 99 Indigenous deaths in custody between 1 January 1980 and 31 May 1989. The key finding of the Royal Commission was that the deaths were due to the combination of police and prisons failing their duty of care, and the high numbers of Indigenous people being arrested and incarcerated. Indigenous and non-Indigenous prisoners did not have different death rates. 

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    TAGS: Indigenous, Indigenous Australians, human rights, law enforcement, royal commission, crime, prisons, police, deaths in custody, domestic violence

  • The vulnerability of Native Title?

    Posted 19/06/2015 by Kirsty Magarey

    Queensland v Congoo [2015] HCA 17, a recent High Court case, has implications for Native Title holders throughout the country.  It may also have implications for the High Court’s management of cases with an even number of judges.

    Recent changes in personnel within the High Court have led to a number of decisions being made with a bench of six, rather than the full seven, judges.  This has in turn led to some decisions being made with a 3:3 split.  In such cases, under section 23 of the Judiciary Act 1903, the decision being appealed from is left intact. The resulting judgments may be referred to as having a ‘statutory majority’, which offers less precedential value than a traditional, numerical majority. 

    While the existence of a statutory majority in the Congoo case makes the lessons we can learn from it more precarious, the judgments still offer illumination. Thus Congoo provides an understanding of Native Title as a more robust form of title that can survive particular forms of temporary occupation.

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    TAGS: High Court; Indigenous; Indigenous Australians; Native Title

  • Aboriginal advantage: an insider look at an Aboriginal community

    Posted 9/06/2015 by Fiona Caldwell
    Dr Lawrence Bamblett
    In his National Reconciliation Week lecture to the Parliamentary Library, Dr Lawrence Bamblett, Research Fellow at the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies, proposed an alternative way of understanding life in Aboriginal communities through the concept of Aboriginal advantage. He declared, ‘You can all do a lot to help us by changing the way that you talk about us’. Dr Bamblett’s academic, teaching and community development work explores relati... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous Australians, Indigenous education

  • Closing the gap in Indigenous health

    Posted 19/03/2015 by Dr John Gardiner-Garden
    19 March is National Close the Gap Day, an annual event coordinated by Oxfam Australia to highlight the significant gap in health status between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. For the origin of the day, the non-government campaign behind it and the Council of Australian Government (COAG)’s National Indigenous Reform Agreement (NIRA) and its ‘Closing the gap’ strategy see an earlier FlagPost. Extent of the gap According to the Australian Institute of Health and Wel... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous health

  • Parliamentary Library Lecture—Aboriginals in the First Australian Imperial Force, a secret history

    Posted 3/06/2014 by Nicole Brangwin

    On 28 May, the Parliamentary Library hosted a public lecture by Gary Oakley, the Indigenous Liaison Officer at the Australian War Memorial. Mr Oakley’s ongoing research into Aboriginal service during the First World War painted an absorbing picture of the experiences of Aboriginals serving in the First Australian Imperial Force (1st AIF) as well as dispelling a number of preconceptions.  

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    TAGS: Indigenous Australians, military history

  • National Close the Gap Day

    Posted 19/03/2013 by John Gardiner-Garden
    Closing the gap developed out of the call in Tom Calma’s Social justice report 2005 for Australian governments to commit to achieving equality for Indigenous people in health and life expectancy within 25 years. In March 2006 some non-government agencies came together to develop a National Indigenous Health Equality Campaign and in April 2007 a Close the gap campaign was launched.In December 2007 the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) committed to closing some key gaps and in March 2008 ma... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous, indigenous Australians

  • Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory

    Posted 24/02/2012 by John Gardiner-Garden
    Scheduled for debate on 27 February are the Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory Bill 2011 and its associated Stronger Futures in the Northern Territory (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2011 and Social Security Legislation Amendment Bill 2011.All three follow through on measures that had their origin in the ‘Northern Territory Emergency Response’ (often referred to as the NTER or ‘The Intervention’) initiated by Prime Minister Howard and Minister Brough in June 2007. To ref... Read more...

    TAGS: Indigenous, Northern Territory Emergency Response, Stronger futures

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