Practical Justice Initiative Indigenous Lecture Series: Michael Mansell
12 October 2017, 4.00pm - 6.00pm
Barnett Long Room, Customs House, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay
Michael Mansell, Aboriginal lawyer and activist
An Australian Treaty
What would a treaty or treaties with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples contain, where would a treaty sit with the Constitution and what effect would it have on non-Aboriginal Australia?
Michael Mansell will outline his thoughts on a national treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. He believes a national treaty is preferable to State or regional treaties. The content of a treaty must reflect the expectation of a settlement between the original peoples and the new nation of Australia. A treaty must deliver land, empowerment, a financial base and control over social harmony and cultural promotion. A successful treaty will provide real justice to Aboriginal people but also leave intact jobs, homes, lifestyles and institutions of non-Aboriginal people. A treaty or treaties will be legislated and could be secured by Constitutional entrenchment. Any treaty will be subject to the Constitution.
Michael Mansell is an Aboriginal lawyer and activist who has dedicated his life to social, political and legal reform to improve the lives and social standing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. In 2016, he was a consultant to Aboriginal Affairs Victoria in developing a State treaty. His book Treaty and Statehood: Aboriginal self-determination was published in December 2016.
He achieved a law degree from the University of Tasmania in 1978, had his own legal practice from 1986 until 1996, and was Legal Director of Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre until 2013. He was named Tasmanian 'Aboriginal of the Year' in 1987. In 1976, he petitioned the Queen for land rights. He has campaigned for museums in Tasmania to surrender the Aboriginal dead with success and has also campaigned throughout Europe, the UK and the US for repatriation of all Aboriginal human remains. He has worked with Geoffrey Robertson QC and Mark Stephens to retrieve human remains from the British Natural History Museum. He was involved in the negotiation of the Native Title Act 1993 and has campaigned for land rights in Tasmania; recognition of cultural fishing and hunting rights, and compensation for the stolen generations.
4.00pm - 4.30pm Doors open
4.30pm - 6.00pm Lecture
This is a free event but registration is essential.