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SovereigntyFrontiers of Possibility$
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Julie Evans, Ann Genovese, Alexander Reilly, and Patrick Wolfe

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835637

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835637.001.0001

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Sovereign Apologies

Sovereign Apologies

(p.196) 10 Sovereign Apologies

Alexander Reilly

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter examines how the apology of the Australian government to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia for laws which resulted in their forced separation from their families assumed that the State possessed the power to pass the laws. As a result, the apology was limited to expressing sorrow for the consequences of the laws of removal, and in no way intimated that the State might have lacked the power to pass them. The laws were acknowledged to be bad, even evil in their conception, but they remained, according to the terms of the apology, compatible with the fundamental principle of the rule of law that sustains parliamentary government. By construing the laws in this way, the Australian government was able to preserve its sovereign power.

Keywords:   Australian government, Aboriginal people, Torres Strait Islander people, laws of removal, parliamentary government, Australian sovereignty

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