Are Indigenous rights inconsistent with Australian political traditions?

29 April 2022

VIDEO | Dr Dylan Lino, UQ Law, discusses how Australia’s constitutional practices and traditions can support indigenous rights rather than create friction. With an introduction by special guest UQ’s Vice-Chancellor Deborah Terry AO. 

Critics often argue in public debate that Indigenous rights conflict with Australian political traditions over the claims of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to land, culture and sovereignty.

One argument is that Indigenous rights constitute race-based forms of discrimination against non-Indigenous peoples that violate Australia’s liberal norms of equality. And when Indigenous rights promise to recognise Indigenous peoples’ collective autonomy – such as through the Uluru Statement’s call for a First Nations Voice to Parliament and treaties – they are said to threaten and fracture an indivisible Australian sovereignty.

In this lecture, Dr Dylan Lino reflects on how Australia’s constitutional traditions and practices can themselves be drawn upon to support campaigns for Indigenous rights, including fundamental redistributions of political power to First Nations, rather than simply being obstacles to the proper recognition of Indigenous claims to land, culture and sovereignty.

The lecture focuses on two features of Australia’s constitutional order – its approach to defining citizenship and its commitment to federalism as potential resources in struggles for Indigenous rights.

Visit the video at UQ Law