What would a treaty or treaties with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples contain? Where would a treaty sit with the Constitution? What effect would it have on non-Aboriginal Australia?
Michael Mansell, Aboriginal lawyer and activist, 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 and that the content of a treaty must reflect the expectation of a settlement between the original peoples and the new nation of Australia. A national treaty must deliver land, empowerment, a financial base and control over social harmony and cultural promotion 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 has dedicated his life to social, political and legal reform to improve the lives and social standing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 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.