Publication Details

J. Ransley and E. Marchetti, 'The hidden whiteness of Australian law: a case study' (2001) 10 (1) Griffith Law Review 139-152.

Link to publisher version (URL)

Griffith Law Review


Indigenous people face procedural barriers in bringing actions in the Australian legal system, such as the need to frame their claims within Western cultural constructs of individual actions and economic loss, and to transform their stories into the written evidence privileged by courts. But an even greater barrier is the hidden Whiteness of Australian courts, which places Indigenous people as the 'Other' who must either change their claims to conform with 'our' requirements, or be rejected. The case study explored in this article shows how this Whiteness exhibits itself in procedural requirements; in its racialising of Indigenous people, their claims and evidence; and in its assumptions of essentialist views of Indigenous culture as something fixed in the past. Judges and lawyers need to step outside their personae as Whites faced with Others, to adopt one where 'us' embraces Indigenous people and culture too.