This course aims to arm students with an understanding of, and a critical approach to, the law as it applies to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Central to the course is an examination of the extent to which Australian law recognises the rights and interests of Indigenous Australians as citizens and as peoples. It presents constitutional, human rights and property law relating to Indigenous peoples in their socio-political, historical and cultural contexts, questioning the adequacy of the current state of the law with a view to possibilities for future law reform. It acknowledges the disproportionately large role of the law in the lives of this arguably overly-regulated but under-protected group of peoples, providing an understanding of some of the central legal issues facing Indigenous Australians, and the impact this has and has had on Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The course covers issues relating to legal definitions of Indigeneity, the relationship between Indigenous Australians and the state, self-determination, racial discrimination, rights to lands and waters, and the place of Indigenous Australians in the world community of Indigenous peoples. As such, it builds on concepts introduced in Australian Public Law, International Law and Property Law.
Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
- Explore and critically examine the basic issues surrounding legal construction of Indigenous identity and their legal and non-legal impact;
- Investigate and assess the importance of selected culturally appropriate protocols (including the use of language);
- Critically analyse and evaluate the limits of constitutional protections afforded to Indigenous peoples, and the role of constitutional law in relation to government policy and legislation affecting Indigenous Australians;
- Investigate and critically evaluate the effect of international instruments and mechanisms on domestic legal issues affecting Indigenous peoples;
- Examine and critically evaluate conceptual and legal problems with property law relating to Indigenous peoples;
- Investigate and assess domestic and international avenues for protection of Indigenous rights and interests;
- Design, plan and execute a research-based project with independence, applying knowledge gained within this course to develop new understanding.
- Participation (10) [LO null]
- Online Discussions (5) [LO null]
- Research Essay (45) [LO null]
- Research Essay (40) [LO null]
- Submission to the Deloitte’s Native Title Review (Optional 2% bonus) (2) [LO null]
- Reflection up to 500 words (Optional 3% bonus) (3) [LO null]
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- Classes offered in non-standard sessions will be taught on an intensive base with compulsory contact hours (approximately 26 hours of face to face teaching). The course will also require advanced preparation through assigned readings. In total, it is anticipated that the hours required for completion of this course (class preparation, teaching and completion of assessment) will not exceed 120 hours.
- Classes offered during semester periods are expected to have three contact hours per week.
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Requisite and Incompatibility
Students must rely on the approved Class Summary which will be posted to the Programs and Courses site approximately two weeks prior to the commencement of the course. Alternatively, this information will be published in the Program course list when known.
Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.
Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.
- Student Contribution Band:
- Unit value:
- 6 units
If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.
Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.
Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links
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