Indigenous Australians and the Commonwealth Intervention
Peter Billings (ed); Law in Context Special Issue 27(2); Federation Press, 2010;
160pp; $49.95 (paperback).
The Northern Territory Intervention or Emergency Response is a difficult subject to critique. Not only does it involve a number of wide-ranging legal, administrative and financial measures contained in lengthy legislation — with policy objectives that were initially unclear and that subtly shifted over time — but it has also undergone modifications during the administration of three successive federal governments. In this special issue of Law in Context, contributors with varied professional backgrounds — from high public office, a peak health research body and academia — offer interdisciplinary critical perspectives on the Intervention. There is a clear emphasis on the social security measures in many of the articles, with some attention also given to alcohol and pornography restrictions, as well as to policing, bail and sentencing provisions. However, given the controversy over these provisions and the ongoing debate about extending welfare quarantining measures to other parts of the country, this balance seems appropriate. Each article also includes a concise summary of the relevant law and policy which is helpful to readers who are not conversant with the intricacies of all measures under the Intervention. The introduction by Peter Billings is especially useful in this regard.