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Submission Number
Robert Heron
Submission date

In 2007 143 countries voted in favour of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Australia was one of the four countries to vote against. This position was reversed in 2009 and Australia has sought to find ways to show support for the Declaration. The declaration guarantees the right to self-determination for Indigenous Peoples.

When the majority imposes a disadvantageous policy to the detriment of Indigenous Australians, it violates the widely held interpretation of s51 & s116a of the constitution that the race power shall only be used for the advancement of Indigenous Australians.1 In the case that a government policy disproportionately targets Indigenous communities —with the exception of matters of criminal law— and derogates or trades rights, privileges, convenience, freedoms or choices otherwise afforded to others in Australia, the voice should hold a veto power.

Sometimes government policy is like the story of the racist neighbor, sorting through the ideological landfill, brings you something claiming it is a great gift but it turns out to be worthless garbage. In his mind there is now a debt that must be repaid.2 Indigenous Australians should have a say in what they are willing to trade when it comes to policy.

  1. Pritchard, S.(2011) THE ‘RACE’ POWER IN SECTION 51(XXVI) OF THE CONSTITUTION. Australian Indigenous Law Review. Vol 15. No 2.
  2. Prosecutor vs Stanisic and Simatovic. (Wittness: RJS-07 (Open Session) Examination by Ms. Murdoch) United Nations Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals, Case No MICT-15-96-T, 27 August 2019, pages 44-45. Available at: http://ucr.irmct.org/LegalRef/CMSDocStore/Public/English/Transcript/NotIndexable/MICT-15-96/TRS11500R0000525342.doc).



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