The Human Right to belong: Indigenous rights and sovereignty in Australia

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


In 2019, the Minister of Immigration tried to deport two Aboriginal men from Australia. One was born in Papua New Guinea, and the other in New Zealand. Although long resident in Australia, neither had applied for citizenship. This, the Minister argued, made them eligible for deportation on character grounds after conviction for minor offences. The men challenged the idea that their non-citizenship of the colonial state nullified their belonging to places that their ancestors had occupied for at least 50,000 years. The High Court ruled by a 4-3 majority that non-citizenship does not make an Aboriginal person alien. The two concepts are not synonymous. This is significant, because it is only on the basis of alienage that the Minister has the power to deport.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationOxford Human Rights Hub
PublisherUniversity of Oxford
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2020


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