Making Indigenous Australians ‘Disappear’ Problems Arising from Our Birth Registration Systems

Alternative Law Journal, Vol. 34, No. 3, p. 157, 2009

Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010/39

7 Pages Posted: 18 Apr 2011

See all articles by Paula Gerber

Paula Gerber

Monash University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 2009

Abstract

In February 2008, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised to Indigenous Australians saying that:

The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future. We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians.

For most Australians saying ‘sorry’ was a proud and historic moment. However, such an apology is meaningless if we continue to inflict suffering on Indigenous Australians. Australia’s laws and policies are still disadvantaging Indigenous Australians, with the lack of birth certificates, a real and substantive barrier to their enjoyment of the rights and privileges of Australian citizenship. It is time for all Australian governments to explore ways of changing the practices of their registry offices, so that they cease to be in breach of international, and potentially, domestic, human rights laws, pertaining to birth registration.

Keywords: Australia, Indigenous Australians, Birth Registration, Birth Registry, Citizenship, Access to Rights

JEL Classification: K00, K4, K40

Suggested Citation

Gerber, Paula, Making Indigenous Australians ‘Disappear’ Problems Arising from Our Birth Registration Systems (2009). Alternative Law Journal, Vol. 34, No. 3, p. 157, 2009; Monash University Faculty of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010/39. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1810146

Paula Gerber (Contact Author)

Monash University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Wellington Road
Clayton, Victoria 3800
Australia

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