The Victorian treaty process: towards an authentic and meaningful form of Indigenous self-determination?
AffiliationMelbourne Law School
Document TypeMasters Coursework thesis
Access StatusOpen Access
© 2020 Theodore Butcher-Cornet
This thesis offers a reflection on the transformative potential of the Victorian treaty process with regard to self-determination of the Aboriginal community of Victoria. It postulates that the creation of an Indigenous political constituency through the First Peoples’ Assembly, together with the preponderance given to Aboriginal voices throughout the treaty process and the collaborative approach observed by the Victorian government, testify to the emergence of a political culture based on the accommodation of the interests and aspirations of both Indigenous peoples and the Victorian state. In the meantime, it stresses the challenges of a consensual form of self-determination, which arise from the weak negotiating leverage of Aboriginal parties, the structural weaknesses of the treaty making process, as well as the dissatisfaction and disillusionment among a significant part of the Aboriginal community. Also, drawing on the treaty experience in countries with a colonial history close to Australia, as well as on the crucial and extensive work carried out by Indigenous advocacy, the thesis provides a set of key avenues for the elaboration of a treaty framework and the conclusion of subsequent agreements carrying an authentic and meaningful form of Indigenous self-determination.
Keywordstreaty; self-determination; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander; Victoria; Indigenous rights
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