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.
Recommended CitationMcAllan, F., Rites of passage?, Law Text Culture, 11, 2007.