The 'Intervention' Legislation – 'Just' Terms or 'Reasonable' Injustice? – Wurridjal v The Commonwealth of Australia
Shelley Bielefeld, "The “Intervention" Legislation – "Just" Terms or "Reasonable" Injustice? - Wurridjal v The Commonwealth of Australia’ (2010) 14(2) Australian Indigenous Law Review 2-23
22 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 5, 2014
Structural racism systematically disadvantages Indigenous peoples in the contemporary politico-legal environment, as seen in the 2007 Northern Territory Emergency Response (the 'Intervention'). Some aspects of the Intervention legislation, the compulsory five year leases, were challenged in the case of Wurridjal v The Commonwealth. In this case the Indigenous plaintiffs were unsuccessful in their challenge and the colonial discourse of white benevolence was upheld. This case reveals the function of Australian courts in sustaining an ongoing colonial paradigm which detrimentally affects the interests of Indigenous Australians. Australian courts have played an important role in producing a colonial narrative. Courts produce a narrative of reality that becomes normative. This involves 'epistemic violence', 'conserving violence', and 'colonial violence'. This violence perpetuates Australia’s racist colonial legacy and ensures that Australia’s Indigenous peoples remain gravely disadvantaged despite Australia’s first world status.
Keywords: The Intervention, Compulsory Five Year Leases, Wurridjal, Structural Racism, Colonial Violence
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