Indigenous Legal Issues Project

Current project

The Centre treats the empowerment, rights and recognition of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders as a core contemporary concern in Australian public law. That priority is reflected in work across several Centre projects. Within the Indigenous Legal Issues Project, there is a particular focus on territorial issues (land rights and native title) and on constitutional change.

In land rights and native title, the Project is focused in particular on the way in which judicial decision-making, legislation and government policy can support and facilitate the economic and political empowerment of Australia’s first peoples. The Project has a distinctive focus on the overlap between public law and Indigenous territorial concerns in the areas of statutory interpretation and the constitutional acquisition of property on just terms.

In respect of constitutional change, the Project engages with ideas for formal amendment of the Australian Constitution and other means by which the public law system might affect the position of Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders and in particular might enhance empowerment, rights and recognition.

In both areas, the Project pursues these concerns through public commentary, academic analysis, collaboration with others and engagement with parliamentary and other public law processes.

The Project resource page contains articles, presentations, media comment etc produced by Centre staff on Indigenous legal issues.

Recent work on Voice referendum

Gabrielle Appleby, Sean Brennan and Paul Kildea, Expert Analysis of the ‘Official Yes/No Cases’ published by the Australian Electoral Commission: Constitution Alteration (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice) 2023 (Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law and Indigenous Law Centre, 28 August 2023).