The Federation Press

Indigenous Australians, Social Justice and Legal Reform

Honouring Elliott Johnston


“Elliott Johnston was a most unusual lawyer…Coming generations of lawyers can be encouraged to reflect upon the causes of justice and equality that he so powerfully espoused.” – The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG

Twenty-five years after Elliott Johnston’s thorough and prescient Report on the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, juvenile justice, freedom of speech, racial discrimination, human rights and a referendum on constitutional ‘recognition’ of Indigenous Australians remain subjects of contestation, national debate and international scrutiny.

In this collection, 17 distinguished Indigenous and non-Indigenous jurists, scholars and community leaders show common cause with Johnston. They pursue better ways of understanding social values, justice and equality expressed through issues of native title, incarceration rates, cultural protection, self-determination and rights of Indigenous peoples. They look to the law as a site of hope and an instrument of public education and principled change.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Kim Economides and Daryle Rigney
Personal Tribute
About the Authors

A Powerful Example: Introducing The Elliott Johnston Lectures
           Gus Worby, Hossein Esmaeili and Simone Ulalka Tur

1998: The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody: Lessons For Wik
           Frank Brennan

1999: Back to the Future: Aboriginal Imprisonment Rates and Other Experiences
           Pat O’Shane

2000: A Tragedy of Dumb Politics: Does Mandatory Sentencing Cause Fundamental Damage to the Legal System?
           Marcia Langton

2001: Cultural Protection in Frontier Australia
           Jacqui Katona

2002: Power from the People: A Community- based Approach to Indigenous Self-determination
           Larissa Behrendt

2003: From a Hard Place: Negotiating a Softer Terrain
           Irene Watson

2005: The Effect of Early Australian Laws on Aboriginal People: A Personal Perspective
           Sue Gordon

2006: From Rhetoric to Reconciliation: Addressing the Challenge of Equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Criminal Justice Processes
           Tom Calma

2007: Human Rights and Indigenous Reconciliation in Australia
           Garth Nettheim

2008: Land Rights, Native Title and the ‘Limits’ of Recognition: Getting the Balance Right?
           Graeme Neate

2009: Indigenous Australians and the Law Post Apology: Lessons Learned from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody
           Martin Hinton

2010: The Taking of Land Without Consent: The Dispossession of Aboriginal Land in South Australia
           Shaun Berg

2011: Engagement to Support Indigenous Self-Determination
           Eddie Cubillo

2012: Elliott Johnston, Social Values and Justice
           Michael Kirby

2013: Putting Meat on the Bones of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
           Megan Davis

2014: Holding on to the ‘Hope of Law’
           Mark McMillan

2015: Why First Laws Must Be In
           Jacinta Ruru


Of interest...