The paper "Indigenous Australian - Parliament’ s Legislative Powers" is an engrossing example of coursework on social science. This paper examines the reasons why Section 51 of the Australian Constitution should be changed. It also offers a description of the term ‘ indigeneity’ . Further, it discusses the two major themes that Cultural Heritage contains as defined by the United Nations. It also explores the impact of mining sites on the Aboriginal traditional owners. Other discussions include the importance of teaching traditional Aboriginal languages to Indigenous youth today, the definition of ‘ justice reinvestment, ’ the positive stereotype of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people portrayed in the media.
Also, the paper provides an overview of a successful program to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and lastly, an overview of a program to help ‘ Close the Gap’ in life expectancy and health equality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Deletion of Section 51 of the Australian Constitution The Australian Constitution sets out rules that govern Australia. To some reasonable extent, the Constitution has been effective in serving the Australians well. However, it has been criticized for its failure to recognize the indigenous people of Australia, specifically the Torres Strait Islander and the Aboriginal people (Edson 2008). Section 51 of the Constitution specifies the Parliament’ s legislative powers.
Accordingly, subject to the Constitution, the Parliament is entrusted with powers to formulate regulations for the good governance of Australia. However, Section 51(xxvi) has been criticized for promoting some racist tendencies in the formulation of laws (McGregor 2013). The section provides that the Parliament is entrusted with powers to formulate “ special laws” that are specifically applicable to certain races. This shows that Section 51 is inconsistent with some universal concepts such as the principle of equality, which specifies that all Australians should be treated equally under the Constitution (Summers and Parkin, 2002).
It further suggests that while discrimination on the basis of race is no longer acceptable, the constitution still advocates for laws that have the potential to discriminate in that line (Viatori and Gusbigua 2007). Even though the primary purpose of Section 51(xxvi) appears to have been specifically intended to safeguard the rights of the Aboriginal Australian, its implementation has been detrimental to their existence (McGregor 2013).
It can be viewed that the deletion of some parts of Section 51, specifically Section (xxvi) and subsequent substitution with a leader of government with regard to the Torres Strait Islander and the Aboriginal people do not safeguard the rights of the Aboriginal Australians (Bourke 1998). ‘ Indigeneity’ The term “ indigeneity” is an abstract noun developed from the term “ indigenous. ” Indigeneity refers to the quality of being indigenous, meaning the quality of being a native of a place. In the same breath, like its synonym aboriginality, “ indigeneity” refers to the quality of being aboriginal, which specifies existence at the early stages of history.
In Australia, the term indigenous is applied variably in reference to the Torres Strait Islander people and the Australian Aboriginal. They can be identified based on the existence and original occupiers of Australia, their deep connection to the country and the land, their varied manifestations, cultures, and spirituality (Viatori and Gusbigua 2007). Of much interest is the concept of indigeneity and its interpretation based on the circumstances that are of immediate concern in Australia. For instance, it has been observed that a large number of Australians believe that a multi-cultural reality should be explained, at least by particular political and legal reasons, as bi-cultural (Anonymous n. d1).
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Edson, E. 2008. Section 51(xxix) of the Australian Constitution and 'Matters of International Concern': Is There Anything to Be Concerned about?. Adelaide Law Review, Vol 29 Issue ½
McGregor, R . 2013. Race matters: changing the Australian Constitution. APO. (Online) Retrived from: [http://apo.org.au/commentary/race-matters-changing-australian-constitution] Accessed 6 May 2013
NACCHO. 2012. The Close the Gap campaign. (Online) Retrieved from [http://www.naccho.org.au/aboriginal-health/close-the-gap-campaign/] Accessed 6 May 2013
NSW Government. 10 Mar 2011. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People Working in the NSW Public Sector. Retrieved from: [http://www.eeo.nsw.gov.au/aboriginal_and_torres_strait_islander_people] Accessed 6 May 2013
Korne, H. 2010. ‘Indigenous language education policy: supporting community-controlled immersion in canada and the us’, Language Policy, Vol.9, p.120
Viatori, M. & Gusbigua. 2007. ‘speaking sovereignty: Indigenous languages and self-determination’, Wicazo SA Review, vol.22, no.2, pp. 7-21
Shayne, R. & Williams, T. 2012. The Importance of Teaching and Learning Aboriginal Languages And Cultures: A Mid-Study Impression Paper. (Online) [http://www.aboriginalaffairs.nsw.gov.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/importance-of-teaching-learning-aboriginal-languages-cultures.pdf] Accessed 6 May 2013
Summers, W & Parkin. 2002. Government, Politics, Power and Policy in Australia, 7th ed
Sweet, J. 2006. UNESCO and cultural heritage practice in Australia in the 1950s: The international touring exhibition Australian Aboriginal Culture, 1948-55. Asia pacific journal of arts and cultural management, 1(1)
The Indigenous World. 2006. International Working Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA), ECOSOC Consultative Status, p10
UMICH. n.d. Environmental Justice Case Study: The Jabiluka Mine and Aboriginal Land Rights in Australia’s Northern Territory. (Online) [http://www.umich.edu/~snre492/Jabiluka.html] Accessed 6 May 2013