12 February 2020

I was wrong about the High Court — in a narrow 4-3 split, the judges decided that an Aboriginal person can not be an “alien” and therefore can not be deported from Australia. The decision accepts that in very specific circumstances, a person can be a non-citizen non-alien: “The category will protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians born overseas, ensuring they will not lose their right to traditional lands because of an accident of birth. The decision upholds the law’s recognition of the importance of Indigenous Australians’ connection to, and rights over, their lands.” This was the first time all seven of the current judges have written separate judgments, and Anne Twomey gives a quick summary [$] of the differences between them. Meanwhile, the hard Right are in meltdown — the IPA’s Morgan Begg hyperventilates [$] that this is the “most radical instance of judicial activism in Australian history”, while The Australian‘s Legal Affairs editor (always out of his depth) screeches about “lunacy” and “pure racism­ built upon an illegitimate exercise of judicial power”.