"The ’67 ReFeRenDUm – FoRTy yeARS on" conference Sydney 20 July

The Indigenous Law Centre (University of New South Wales) presents a one day conference to mark the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the 1967 Referendum, to consider developments since and look forward from here. It will include consideration of Constitutional reform.

The conference will be held in Sydney on Friday 20 July. For brochure with program details and a registration form contact:

tony westmore
coordinator
indigenous law centre
tel: 02 9385 2252 fax: 02 9385 1266 mob: 0419 256 339
email: ilc@unsw.edu.au

(Following text from conference invitation email message):

“May 27, 1967 marked a watershed in Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations in this country. An overwhelming 90.77 per cent of Australians voted in favour of amending the Constitution Act of Australia to remove the impediment to the Commonwealth Government making special laws with respect to Aborigines and repealed the prohibition against the inclusion of aboriginal people in the counting of the national census.

As we pass the 40th anniversary of this historical landmark, it is appropriate to reflect upon the significance of these developments and opportunities for further reform at the beginning of the 21st century.

The 1967 Constitutional amendments paved the way for several beneficial legislative developments under the Whitlam, Fraser and subsequent governments. The question of whether the operation of the Constitution is confined to laws for the benefit of the people of a particular race remains unsettled. Beginning with the Hindmarsh Island Bridge Act 1997, there has been a string of legislative developments, including the Native Title Amendment Act 1998, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Amendment Act 2005, and the Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory) Amendment Act 2006 that are arguably detrimental to Indigenous interests.

Where to now?

If our political and legal processes are failing to provide adequate safeguards for the protection and promotion of Indigenous rights, the issue of Constitutional reform arises. Is amending the Constitution the best way to overcome these limitations and, if so, what changes would be most beneficial?”

tony westmore
coordinator
indigenous law centre
faculty of law
university of new south wales
sydney 2052 australia
tel: 02 9385 2252 fax: 02 9385 1266 mob: 0419 256 339
email: ilc@unsw.edu.au web: http://www.ilc.unsw.edu.au.

Conference cost – Full registration $225. Discount (Student/Unwaged) $75

UPDATE:

On Friday, 20 July the Indigenous Law Centre will bring together several of the nation’s most prominent Indigenous leaders to discuss and debate issues including the Prime Minister’s response to the ‘Little Children are Sacred’ report. This important National Forum will hear speakers discuss Howard’s NT Plan in light of their knowledge and first hand experience of change as a result of the 1967 Referendum. The Australian Constitution, forty years on from the “watershed in Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations”, has been put to use in arguably the most wide-reaching and controversial manner to date in relation to Indigenous peoples.

Panel discussions and individual presentations will draw on the expertise of prominent non-Indigenous legal practitioners, researchers and political figures. Speakers include:

· Mr Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

· The Hon Ian Viner QC, former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs

· Professor Larissa Behrendt, Director Research, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, University of Technology, Sydney

· Professor George Williams, Anthony Mason Professor and Director, Gilbert + Tobin Centre for Public Law, University of NSW

· Ms Megan Davis, Director, Indigenous Law Centre and Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of NSW

· Ms Jackie Huggins, Co-Chair, Reconciliation Australia

· Fr Frank Brennan, Professor of Law, Institute of Legal Studies, Australian Catholic University

HURRY, seats are filling fast! To open this important forum to a wider audience, registrations are now $99.00 ($49.50 discount registrations for students and unwaged) For further information on registration, please call Denise Lester on 02 9385 9623 or email her at denise.lester@unsw.edu.au.