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Treaties are negotiated agreements between nations and peoples. In this subject we address treaty-making as a practice of comparative law and agreement-making between Indigenous nations and settler institutions. We will interrogate the comparative law, policy, theory and history of agreement-making in settler states. The subject aims to equip students with a sound understanding of the historical and contemporary challenges that attend the Indigenous-settler legal relationship, and an understanding of what is required if Indigenous-settler agreements are to be legitimate and robust. Topics may include the following:
- the history and experience of treaty and agreement-making in Australia; with comparisons drawn to other settler colonial jurisdiction, especially New Zealand, Canada and the United States;
- the movement in Victoria towards the conclusion of a treaty between the Crown in right of Victoria and Victorian Aboriginal peoples;
- the design of Indigenous representative institutions;
- Historic treaties and applicable law in New Zealand, Canada and the United States;
- Indigenous-settler agreement-making in property law (for example Indigenous Land Use Agreements, and the design and operation of Native Title Registered Bodies Corporate);
- Indigenous-settler agreement-making in social policy and service delivery sectors, natural resource management, and in environmental law and policy;
- the relevance and impact of international law on agreements, including the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ILO Convention 169 on Tribal and Indigenous Peoples.
Intended learning outcomes
On completion of this subject students should have developed:
- An advanced and integrated understanding of the legal principles and mechanisms that can be used to design, maintain and implement Indigenous-settler agreements and institutions in this emerging field of law and practice.
- The cognitive and technical skills to independently examine, research and analyze existing and emerging legal issues relating to Indigenous-settler agreement-making across a range of public and private law settings.
- The capacity to critically examine, analyse, interpret and assess the effectiveness of these legal rules and mechanisms.
- The skills to compare and contrast legal approaches to Indigenous-settler agreement making in Australia and other settler states.
- The communication skills to clearly articulate and convey complex information regarding Indigenous agreements and institutions to relevant specialist and non-specialist audiences, and to contribute to constructive public and scholarly debates on these issues.
- The skills to engage effectively in debate regarding different approaches to Indigenous settler agreement-making and Indigenous institutional design.
On completion of the subject, students should have developed the skills necessary to:
- Develop arguments as to the appropriate legal principles to apply in various contexts by critically evaluating Australian law applying to Indigenous-settler agreements and institutions;
- Identify and resolve complex legal problems involving Indigenous-settler agreements and Indigenous institutions by developing creative solutions that demonstrate professional judgment;
- Apply the relevant legal principles to a range of fact situations and contexts in which Indigenous-settler agreements are debated by drawing on comparative and international legal materials;
- Conduct self-directed research on topics relevant to this complex field of law in written work showing evidence of critical thought, sophisticated analysis, self-reflection and rigorous argumentation;
- Present arguments in the form of written work that is clearly written, and in which arguments and clams are appropriately structured, developed, supported and referenced.
Last updated: 25 July 2020