Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Exploring the Limits of Benevolent Language

Shelley Bielefeld, ‘Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Exploring the Limits of Benevolent Language’ (2014) 8(15) Indigenous Law Bulletin 22-26.

5 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2015

See all articles by Shelley Bielefeld

Shelley Bielefeld

School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet); Griffith University - Griffith Law School

Date Written: December 30, 2014

Abstract

This article explores constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, a topic of ongoing debate. It considers Australia’s history of failing to protect Indigenous peoples from racially discriminatory legislation, and the problem of cultural racism which remains in contemporary law and policy. The article evaluates recommendations of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples which refer to the notion of ‘advancement’ and prohibition of racial discrimination unless it is for the purpose of ‘overcoming disadvantage’. These issues are critically analysed in light of current law and policy intended to be beneficial for Australia’s First Peoples: the new Indigenous Advancement Strategy announced in the 2014-15 Federal Budget; and the Improving School Enrollment and Attendance through Welfare Reform Measure (‘SEAM’). These matters suggest that more robust constitutional protection of the rights of Indigenous peoples is necessary to guard against racial discrimination that can be entrenched in purportedly benevolent law and policy.

Keywords: Indigenous peoples, Constitutional recognition, law and policy, Indigenous Advancement Strategy, SEAM

JEL Classification: K39

Suggested Citation

Bielefeld, Shelley and Bielefeld, Shelley, Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Exploring the Limits of Benevolent Language (December 30, 2014). Shelley Bielefeld, ‘Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples: Exploring the Limits of Benevolent Language’ (2014) 8(15) Indigenous Law Bulletin 22-26. , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2569653

Shelley Bielefeld (Contact Author)

Griffith University - Griffith Law School ( email )

Nathan Campus, GU
Nathan 4111
Australia

School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) ( email )

Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2601
Australia

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