Federalism, constitutional recognition and Indigenous Peoples: how a new identity-based state can be established in Australia
The debate on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Peoples in Australia has highlighted the desire for meaningful responses to Indigenous Peoples’ claims to sovereignty and self-determination. One potential response is to apply federal principles and establish a new state, or states, for Indigenous Peoples in Australia. This proposal has been most prominently put by Tasmanian Aboriginal leader Michael Mansell. Others have followed. However, (at least) one fundamental problem with this federal idea has not been properly addressed, namely the dispersal and limited geographical concentration of Indigenous people in Australia. This paper asks whether and how federalism can be used to institutionalise the shared and self-rule of widely dispersed minorities, or more specifically, Indigenous Peoples in the settler-majority country of Australia. It demonstrates that a non-territorial approach can be applied to federalism in Australia, and that it may form one possible response to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
SOURCE: Michael G. Breen (2020) Federalism, constitutional recognition and Indigenous Peoples: how a new identity-based state can be established in Australia, Australian Journal of Political Science,
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