Many Indigenous peoples who exist as minorities in a postcolonial nation seek to achieve some level of self-determination or shared sovereignty within the nation. This article explores the concept of sovereignty in an Australian context. Under the former Liberal coalition government the recognition of Indigenous rights was portrayed as a form of separatism that threatened national unity. One of the casualties of government policy was the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC), an elected Indigenous body that had previously administered a significant budget for Indigenous programmes. With the demise of ATSIC, Australia's Indigenous peoples have been denied a formal mechanism for the expression of their political interests in the name of national unity. The advent of a new Australian Labor Party (ALP) government opens the way for these issues to be reconsidered. Can sovereignty be shared in a way that delivers effective self-determination to Indigenous peoples without creating a threat to national cohesion?
- Indigenous peoples