Law Text Culture

Article Title

Rites of passage?


As legal discourse and legislation in Australia remains solidly weighted with representations of Indigenous subordination, I want to look closely at how the binary of recogniser/recognisee continues to operate using homogenous notions of national sovereignty and indigeneity. The assumption of a fixed foundation for the nation of Australia was grounded with sovereign legislation, ensuring its continuance with British law. In The Sovereign Event in a Nation’s Law, Motha (2003) points to the doctrine of tenure operating in the form of a ‘skeletal principle’ that enables the sovereign body to extend its expanding laws over a differing topography in order to preserve its sovereignty. Motha argues that the sovereign event is not unitary but split from the outset.