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Professor Larissa Behrendt


Prof. Larissa Behrendt is a Eualeyai/Kamillaroi woman. She is the Professor of Law and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is admitted to the Supreme Court of the ACT and NSW as a barrister.

Larissa is a Land Commissioner at the Land and Environment Court and the Alternate Chair of the Serious Offenders Review Board, a member of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia and a founding member of the Australian Academy of Law. She is the Chair of the Humanities and Creative Arts panel of the Australian Research Council College of Experts.

She is the author of several books on Indigenous legal issues. She won the 2002 David Uniapon Award and a 2005 Commonwealth WriterÕs Prize for her novel Home. Her latest novel, Legacy, is due for release in October this year. Larissa is a Board Member of the Museum of Contemporary Art, a board member of Tranby Aboriginal College and a Director of the Bangarra Dance Theatre. She was named as 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year.


Latest Speeches/Papers
The Apology One Year on..., UTS. 13 February 2009.
UTS Speaks, March 19 2008
Shaping a nation: Visionary ledership in a time of fear and uncertainty, Ninth JCPML Anniversary Lecture, marking the 62nd anniversary of John Curtin's death, 5 July 2007.
Is Sorry Enough? December 2006

Speech at the Indigenous Labor Network Forum Wednesday 13th July 2005

Image of Larissa Behrendt
Professor, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning
Director, SIC - Strengthening Indigenous Communities
Core Member, SIC - Strengthening Indigenous Communities
LLB/B.Juris (UNSW), LLM (Harvard), SJD (Harvard)
+61 2 9514 9655
Can supervise: Yes


Behrendt, L. 2016, Finding Eliza Power and Colonial Storytelling, Univ. of Queensland Press.
Eliza. if. she. isn't. really. in. any. danger? Each step taken to enhance these dramatic elements of the story is a step away from the reality of what actually happened. Breaking the elements down gives an understanding of how the story is told ...
Behrendt, L.Y. 2012, Indigenous Australia for Dummies, First, Wiley Publishing Australia Pty Ltd, Milton, Australia.
Miller, R.J., Ruru, J., Behrendt, L. & Lindberg, T. 2010, Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies.
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© Robert J. Miller, Jacinta Ruru, Larissa Behrendt, and Tracey Lindberg, 2010. All rights reserved. England explored and colonized the United States, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada under the authority of an international law called the Doctrine of Discovery. When Europeans set out to exploit and expropriate the lands, commercial, governmental, and human rights of the indigenous peoples of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United States in the 15th through to the 20th centuries, they justified their sovereignty and claims over these territories and over indigenous peoples with the Discovery Doctrine. This legal principle was justified by religious and ethnocentric ideas of European and Christian superiority over the other cultures, religions, and races of the world. The Doctrine provided that newly-arrived Europeans automatically acquired property rights in the lands of indigenous peoples and gained political and commercial rights over the indigenous inhabitants. The United States Supreme Court expressly adopted Discovery in 1823 in Johnson v. M'Intosh. This case and the Doctrine of Discovery has been cited and relied on by Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and United States governments, courts, and colonists. The English colonial governments and colonists in all four countries utilized Discovery principles and arguments, and these governments continue to use Discovery today to exercise legal powers over indigenous peoples. The elements of Discovery were not applied in the exact same manner and at the exact same time periods in all four countries, but the similarities of the use of Discovery are striking and not the least bit surprising since the Doctrine was English colonial law. Viewing Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and American history and law in light of the international law Doctrine of Discovery creates a more complete understanding of all four countries and of what colonial law has done to indigenous lands.
Behrendt, L.Y., Libesman, T. & Cunneen, C. 2009, Indigenous Legal Relations in Australia, 1, Oxford University Press, Australia.
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Indigenous peoples' relationship with Australian and international law in a histrorical and social context.
Behrendt, L.Y. & Kelly, L. 2008, Resolving Indigenous Disputes: Land Conflict and Beyond, 1, Federation Press, Sydney, Australia.
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This book looks at the way in which dispute resolution processes can be developed to more effectively empower Aboriginal people and assist with the more equitable and satisfactory resolution of disputes between Aboriginal people and between Aboriginal people and other groups. It uses conflict around land, particularly at the intersection between land claim and native title as its focus. These have been identified through extensive field research. The book also explores the building of models of alternative dispute resolution processes based on Aboriginal cultural values and world views. It provides practical tools to practitioners who are seeking to find more effective ways of dealing with conflict in Aboriginal communities or between Aboriginal communities and other stakeholders.
Brennan, S., Behrendt, L.Y., Strelein, L. & Williams, G. 2005, Treaty, 1, Federation Press, Sydney Australia.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2003, Achieving Social Justice, 1, Federation Press, Annandale, Australia.
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Porter, A.J., Behrendt, L. & Vivian, A. 2016, 'Factors Affecting Crime Rates in Six Rural Indigenous Communities' in Donnermeyer, J.F. (ed), The Routledge International Handbook of Rural Criminology, Routledge, UK, pp. 33-44.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2016, 'The Semantics of Genocide' in Moreton-Robinson, A. (ed), Critical Indigenous Studies, University of Arizona Press, pp. 138-156.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2016, '2002: Power from the People: A Community- based Approach to Indigenous Self-determination' in Esmaeili, H., Worby, G. & Tur, S. (eds), Indigenous Australians, Social Justice and Legal Reform: Honouring Elliott Johnston, The Federation Press, Annandale, NSW, pp. 87-103.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2015, 'The Dialogue of Intervention' in Scott, R. & Heiss, A. (eds), The Intervention An Anthology, Griffin Press, Melbourne, pp. 64-74.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2015, 'The Things you Shouldn't Say to an Aboriginal Person' in Nelson, C., Pike, D. & Ledvinka, G. (eds), On Happiness: New Ideas for the Twenty-First Century, UWA Publishing, Perth, pp. 214-222.
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This eclectic collection of essays interrogates the 'common sense' understanding of happiness in the West and examines the strategies devised to obtain it.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2015, 'Magna Carta and Indigenous Rights' in Australia's Magna Carta, Department of the Senate, Canberra, pp. 39-43.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2013, 'Aboriginal Sovereignty: A Practical Roadmap' in Evans, J., Genovese, A., Reilly, A. & Wolfe, P. (eds), SOVEREIGNTY, University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu, USA, pp. 163-177.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2013, 'Beyond Symbolism:Indigenous Peoples In An Australian Republic' in Jones, B.T. & McKenna, M. (eds), PROJECT REPUBLIC, BLACK INC an imprint of Schwartz Media Pty Ltd, Collingwwod, australia, pp. 62-75.
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Behrendt, L.Y. & Cadzow, A.J. 2011, 'Criminal Justice' in Deborah Barnes (ed), Nelson Aboriginal Studies, Cengage Learning Australia, South Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 224-233.
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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a complex relationship with the criminal justice system. They are over-represented in custody and also overrepresented as victims of crime. Issues arise between Aboriginal people and the police and there are additional issues that arise when Aboriginal offenders appear before the courts and are sentenced. These issues were teased out in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC 1991), a major legal investigation into why so many Aboriginal people were dying while in police custody or in prison.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2011, 'An Introduction to Global Perspectives on Social Justice and Human Rights' in Deborah Barnes (ed), Nelson Aboriginal Studies, CENGAGE LEARNING AUSTRALIA, South Melbourne, Victoria, pp. 137-152.
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The following chapters explore social justice and human rights in relation to Indigenous peoples in Australia and internationally. This chapter uses case studies to explore how some nations, such as New Zealand, Canada and the US, have dealt with Indigenous people's rights. There are an estimated 370 million Indigenous people worldwide living in around 70 different nations (UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues 2006). Indigenous peoples have borne the heavy impacts of colonialism. Though invasion or colonisation tended to occur in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, its legacies continue to affect Indigenous peoples today in many ways, such as: the lack of recognition of their rights to their lands and waters; their right to live as they desire and to maintain their cultures; their experiences of racism; and their socioeconomic position. They have challenged colonialism and its impacts on them, and fought hard to protect their rights. Situations vary across communities, depending on the timing of colonialism and subsequent treaties (or lack thereof), as well as domestic government policy. Socioeconomic indicators show the ongoing impacts of colonialism in the present living conditions of Indigenous people. They are markers of the relative position of a group to the rest of a nation's population, in areas such as levels of education, health, employment, income, experience of law and justice, housing and service access. These show that Indigenous peoples worldwide experience major disadvantage compared with their fellow citizens.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2011, 'Aboriginal Australia and Democracy: Old Traditions, New Challenges' in Isakhan, B. & Stockwell, S. (eds), The Secret History of Democracy, Palgrave Macmillan, Hampshire UK, pp. 148-161.
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When Europeans arrived in Australia to stay a little over two centuries ago, they did not appreciate the complex and consultative governance and legal structures that existed within the Aboriginal communities that they met. Instead, many Europeans saw a primitive race without developed technology and assumed them to be inferior. This Euro-centric assumption of superiority, eventually bolstered by theories of social Darwinism, would be used to support the doctrine of terra nullius, a legal fiction that saw Australia as though it was without a legitimate system of governance. Seen through Europeans eyes, it is not suqprising that many outsiders failed to understand the intricacies of our society, especially its complex system of laws and governance.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2010, 'Closing the Evidence Gap' in Davis, M. & Lyons, M. (eds), MORE THAN LUCK: Ideas Australia Needs Now, Centre for Policy Development, Sydney NSW 1240, pp. 117-128.
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A critique of the ALP's Inidgenous Policy
Behrendt, L.Y. 2010, 'The Doctrine of Discovery in Australia' in Press, O.U. (ed), Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies, Oxford University Press, New York, USA, pp. 171-186.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2010, 'Asserting the Doctrine of Discovery in Australia' in Press, O.U. (ed), Discovering Indigenous Lands: The Doctrine of Discovery in the English Colonies, Oxford University Press, New York, USA, pp. 187-206.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2010, 'Indigenous Affairs Post-ATSIC' in Andrew Gunstone (ed), Over a Decade of Despair, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, Australia, pp. 173-207.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2010, 'Back to the Future for Indigenous Australia' in Dyrenfurth, N. & Soutphommasane, T. (eds), All Thats Left: What Labor Should Stand For, UNSW Press, Sydney, Australia, pp. 113-134.
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Political comment
Behrendt, L.Y. 2009, 'Something for Nothing? Aboriginal Property Rights and Nationalist Myths' in Attwood, B. & Griffiths, T. (eds), Frontier, Race, Nation, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, Australia, pp. 291-304.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2008, 'Vision and Realism: Moving to a Reconciled Australia' in Andrew Gunstone (ed), History, Politics & Knowledge: Essays in Australian Indigenous Studies, Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne, VIC, Australia, pp. 229-248.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'The Emergency We Had to Have' in Altman, J. & Hinkson, M. (eds), Coercive Reconciliation: Stabilise, Normalise, Exit Aboriginal Australia, Arena Publications Association, North Carlton, Australia, pp. 15-20.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'The 1967 Referendum: 40 Years On' in Neil Gillespie, A.L.R.M.C.E.O. (ed), Reflections: 40 Years on from the 1967 Referendum, Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Inc, Adelaide, Australia, pp. 25-29.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'Indigenous Urban Disadvantage' in Atkinson, Dalton, Norman & Wood (eds), URBAN 45, RMIT, Melbourne, Australia, pp. 35-38.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'The 1967 Referendum: 49 years on' in Neil Gillespie, A.L.R.M.C.E.O. (ed), Reflections: 40 years on from the 1967 Referendum, Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Inc., Adelaide, Australia, pp. 25-29.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'Telling Stories' in Helen Sykes (ed), What Difference Does Writing Make?, Future Leaders, Albert Park Vic Australia, pp. 16-18.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'Some listen, Some Won't Hear: the Legacy of the Bringing Them Home Report' in Mark Lawrence (ed), "Remember Me": Commemorating the Tenth Anniversary of the Bringing Them Home Report, The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Inc., North Fitzroy, Australia, pp. 29-31.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2006, 'Which Public? Which Values? Law, Prejudice and Public Institutions' in Probyn, E., Muecke, S. & Shoemaker, A. (eds), Creating Value, The Australian Academy of the Humanities, Canberra ACT AUSTRALIA, pp. 129-140.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2006, 'Indigenous Self-Determination: Rethinking the Relationship of Rights and Economic Development' in Worby, G. & Rigney, L.I. (eds), Sharing Spaces: Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Responses to Story, Country and Rights, API Network, Perth, Australia, pp. 276-289.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2006, 'The Urban Aboriginal Landscape' in Anderson, K., Dobson, R., Allon, F. & Neilson, B. (eds), After Sprawl: Post-Suburban Sydney. E-Proceedings of 'Post-Suburban Sydney: The City in Transformation' Conference, Centre for Cultural Research, University of Western Sydney, Sydney, Australia, pp. 1-8.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2005, 'The Relevance of the Rights Agenda in the Age of Practical Reconciliation' in Hunter & Keyes (eds), Changing law: Rights, Regulation and Reconciliation, Ashgate, Great Britain, pp. 137-153.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2005, 'False Dichotomies and Other Barriers to Policy-Making for Aboriginal Communities' in Austin-Broos, D. & Macdonald, G. (eds), Culture, Economy and Governance in Aboriginal Australia, Sydney University Press, Sydney, Australia, pp. 231-239.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2004, 'Euleyai: The Blood that runs Through My Veins' in Greymorning, S. (ed), A Will to Survive: Indigenous Essays on the Politics of Culture, Language and Identity, McGraw Hill, New York, USA, pp. 32-44.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2004, 'Challenging the status quo: indigenous activism and the rule of law in Australia' in Litigation: Past and Present, UNSW Press, Sydney, Australia, pp. 171-185.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2004, 'Cultural conflict in colonial legal systems: An Australian perspective' in Intercultural Dispute Resolution in Aboriginal Contexts, UBC Press, Vancouver, Canada, pp. 116-127.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2003, 'Practical Steps Towards a Treaty: Structures, Challenges and the Need for Flexibility' in Hannah McGlade (ed), Treaty - Lets Get It Right, Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, Australia, pp. 18-29.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2003, 'Eliza Fraser: A Colonial and Legal Narrative' in McCalman, I. & McGrath, A. (eds), Proof & Truth: The Humanist as Expert, Australian Academy of Humanities, Canberra, Australia, pp. 189-199.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2002, 'Lessons from the Mediation Obsession: Ensuring that Sentencing 'Alternatives' Focus on Indigenous Self-Determination' in Strang, H. & Braithwaite, J. (eds), Restorative Justice and Family Violence, Cambridge University Press 2002, Australia, pp. 178-190.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2002, 'Lacking Good Faith: Australia, Fiduciary duties, and the lonely place of Indigenous rights' in N/A (ed), In Whom we trust; A forum on fiduciary relationships In Whom we trust; A forum on fiduciary relationships In Whom we trust; A forum on fiduciary relationships In Whom we trust; A forum on fiduciary relationships, Irwin Law, Toronto, Canada, pp. 247-267.
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Boydell, S., Behrendt, L.Y., Goodall, H., Sankaran, S., Watson, N., Mangioni, V., McMillan, M.D. & McDermott, M.D. 2008, 'Sydney Restored: Aboriginal ownership of city spaces', Cities Nature Justice: Abstracts, Cities Nature Justice: dialogues for social sustainability in public spaces, a UTS Trans/forming cultures symposium, UTS : Trans/forming Cultures, University of Technology, Sydney, pp. 1-1.
Challenge Grant output, presented by Nicole Watson This paper explores an irredentist model of justice in the city, one in which Aboriginal title is taken as the superior property interest over Sydney. It reports on a trans-disciplinary UTS funded research initiative investigating the impact on the institutional landscape of a solution that prioritises the human and property rights of the indigenous population. Methodologically, this research adopts what Creswell and Tashakkori (2007) refer to as a paradigm perspective. The approach integrates an eclectic combination of research modes into history, law, social inquiry, theory, practice, and beliefs, with the attitudes of finance, finance providers, capital users and indigenous property owners. Such a dynamic trans-disciplinary engagement demands that the researchers discuss an overarching worldview (or several worldviews) that provide a philosophical foundation for mixed methods research. Building on the role of land in Aboriginal politics, we explore Native title and the interplay with freehold and leasehold models. Our model raises a range of issues for the contemporary commons. as well as conceptions of ownership when long leasehold interests replace freehold titles. Whilst in the short term, we suggest that there is no significant financial impact on those holding the new 99-year tenancies, a range of issues arise in respect of the reversionary interest including rights, obligations, and restrictions surrounding improvements on the land. We also highlight the complexity surrounding land tax and the role of the State in such a model.

Journal articles

Allison, F., Cunneen, C., Schwartz, M. & Behrendt, L. 2012, 'Indigenous Legal Needs Project: Northern Territory Report'.
This report presents key findings and recommendations based upon research conducted in 2011 by the Indigenous Legal Needs Project (ILNP) in the Northern Territory, Australia.The ILNP aims broadly and on a national level to: identify and analyze the legal needs of Indigenous communities in non-criminal areas of law (including discrimination, housing and tenancy, child protection, employment, credit and debt, wills and estates, and consumer-related matters); and provide an understanding of how legal service delivery might work more effectively to address identified civil and family law needs of Indigenous communities.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2009, 'As good as it gets or as good as it could be?: benchmarking human rights in Australia [Friedlich Foundation Alice Tay Memorial Lecture on Law and Human Rights 2006 on 18 May 2006 at Old Parliament House, Australian National University.]', Balayi, vol. 10, no. Nov-2009, pp. 3-13.
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Sceptics have labelled human rights as a concept that is the luxury of c'lites. What is it that human rights can offer us in terms of improving the quality of life of the most marginalised within our cofirmunity? How do universal human rights offer a practical way of improving the rights of the most disadvantagedw ithin our cornmunity, particularlyA boriginal people?
Behrendt, L.Y. 2009, 'Home: The Importance Of Place To The Dispossessed', South Atlantic Quarterly, vol. 108, no. 1, pp. 71-85.
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The concept of "home" is multifaceted and complex. This is especially so for Aboriginal people who are forcibly removed from their land, retain deep spiritual and cultural attachments to their traditional homes, but have been forced to create new communities. This essay looks at the concepts of home and place from a contemporary Aboriginal perspective. It looks at the way in which Aboriginal families have navigated assimilation policies such as the removal of Aboriginal children from their families and shows the impact on and legacy of such policies on Aboriginal people today. It includes personal reflections and analysis of some of the future implications for government policy relating to Aboriginal people in Australia.
Behrendt, L.Y. & Watson, N. 2008, 'A Response to Louis Nowra', The Alternative Law Journal, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 45-47.
It is easyt o understandw hy it is that when non- Aboriginal people see images of crisis in Aboriginal I communities they are moved to do something.But sometimes those good intentions are not enough. In the samew ay the architects of the removal policy who thoughtt hat assimilation was in the best interests of Aboriginal children often did not see the tragic consequences so those they were trying to help, it can often be the case that attempts to help can do more harm than good.
Reilly, A., Behrendt, L.Y., Williams, G., McCausland, R. & McMillan, M.D. 2007, 'The Promise of Regional Governance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities', Ngiya: Talk the Law, vol. 1, pp. 126-166.
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From the time the Whitlam Govemment introduced 'self-determination' as its policy framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, there have been many legislative versions of what this means in practice. This debate about how Indigenous people's interestsa nd needsc an be best representedin legislation has re-emerged after the Federal Government's announcement of the abolition of ATSIC and its Regional Councils.' Both Indigenous peoples and governments continue to struggle with the question of representation in the context of policy formulation, funding arrangements, accountability, regulation, service delivery and Indigenous peoples' human rights.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'Reconciliation: Forty Years On', Australian Quarterly, vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 48-53.
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However sympathetic or unsympathetic a person might be to the idea of reconciliation, there is no hiding from the disparity in life chances and opportunities that lie in the socio-economic statistics that show that Aboriginal people continue to have poorer health, lower levels of education, higher levels of unemployment, poorer standards of housing and greater rates of incarceration. And it is impossible to argue that there is an even playing field when the life expectancy of Aboriginal people sits at 17 years less than that ofall other Australians. And while Indigenous disadvantageis one of the recurrent features of Indigenous communities across Australia, it is not the whole story.
Kelly, L. & Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'Creating Conflict: Case Studies in the Tension Between native Title Claims and Land Rights Claims', Journal of Indigenous Policy, vol. 8, pp. 73-102.
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A land rights claim was placed on a particular parcel of land, including a small river. A successful claim will mean that the land is granted to the local Aboriginal land council (LALC). Membership of the LALC is based on an Aboriginal person's residence within the boundary of the LALC, or alternatively, based on that person's association with that area. Traditional connection to the land within the boundaries of the LALC is not required for membership. In this scenario, imagine that the majority of the membership of the LALC consists of Aboriginal people who do not have a traditional association ith the parcel of land.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'The 1967 Referendum: 40 years On', Australian Indigenous Law Review, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 12-16.
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On Australia Day in 1938 a group of Aboriginal people protested in front of Australia Hall after they were moved off the Town Hall steps. This small protest was the culmination of decades of activism by Indigenous communities and their leaders in the south east of Australia; leaders such as William Cooper and Fred Maynard, who had sought the same rights as all other Australians, especially in relation to their ability to own land, to access jobs and to accesse ducation and health services.
Behrendt, L.Y. & Watson, N. 2007, 'Shifting Ground: Why Land Rights and native Title Have Not Delivered Social Justice', Journal of Indigenous Policy, vol. 8, pp. 94-102.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'The Mabo Lecture:The Long Path to Land Justice', Journal of Indigenous Policy, vol. 8, pp. 103-115.
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Behrendt, L.Y. & Scott, G. 2007, 'Reducing Indigenous Disadvantage: Understanding the Role of Philanthropy', Australian Philanthropy, vol. Autumn2007, no. 64, pp. 29-29.
Laing, N.C. & Behrendt, L.Y. 2007, 'Aboriginal Access to Civil Law Remedies', Precedent, vol. 2007, no. 82, pp. 16-19.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2006, 'What Lies Beneath', Meanjin, vol. 65, no. 1, pp. 4-12.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2005, 'Treaty And Health: It's Not Either/Or', Balayi: Culture, Law and Colonialism, vol. 7, pp. 154-156.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2005, 'Law Stories and Life Stories: Aboriginal Women, the Law and Australian Society (2004 Clare Burton Memorial Lecture)', Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 20, no. 47, pp. 245-254.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2003, 'Power from the People: A Community-based Approach to Indigenous Self-Determination', The Flinders Journal of Law Reform, vol. 6, no. 2, pp. 135-150.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2003, 'It's broke so fix it: arguments for a bill of rights', Australian Journal of Human Rights, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 135-150.
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This paper looks at the reasons why a Bill of Rights may be an attractive option for rights protection for Indigenous Australians and I want to start by saying that my views are personal; I am not claiming that they are reflective of the Indigenous community. I am going to structure my paper to answer one of the claims most often used against a Bill of Rights, namely, that the current system already allows for adequate rights protection. Put colloquially, it can be called the `if the system aint broke, dont fix it argument. It is easy to say that the system aint broke so you dont need to fix it if it has always worked for you. When I hear people talk about how well our legal system works I can feel a great chasm between what their experience with our laws are and what those of my own family are. I was interested in studying law because of the impact of the child removal policy on my family. My grandmother was taken from her family when she was twelve and sent out to work as a domestic. She never returned to her home. My father was, with several of his siblings, placed in a home at the age of five. He was not able to find the links to his own family until the 1980s. I grew up in a family where I witnessed the impact of that removal on the self-esteem of my family members and I saw what a difference it made to my father to find the family and cultural ties that had been taken away from his mother. I have stood on the very spot where my grandmother was taken from. It is land on our traditional country that we have no ability to claim a native title interest over. I stood on that spot and I couldnt have faith that our legal system was fair, equitable or just.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2002, 'The power we bring: indigenous sovereignty and self-determination in the treaty process', Balayi, vol. 5, pp. 1-10.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2002, 'Genocide: the distance between law and life.', Aboriginal History, vol. 25, no. N/A, pp. 132-147.
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The above quotes are cited from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissions 1997 report, Bringing Them Home: National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families and form part of the evidence collected by the inquiry. This same report concluded that the government policies of removing children were in breach of international laws prohibiting genocide and amounted to crimes against humanity.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2002, 'The Link Between Rights and a Treaty Practical Reconciliation', Balayi, vol. 4, no. N/A, pp. 21-27.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2002, 'Responsibility in Governance: Implied Rights, Fiduciary Obligation and Indigenous Peoples', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 106-118.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2001, 'Mind, Body and Spririt: Pathways Forward for Reconciliation.', The Newcastle Law Review, vol. 5, no. 1, pp. 38-52.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2001, 'What Path Forward for Reconciliation? The Challenges of a new Relationship with Indigenous People.', Public Law Review, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 79-83.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2001, 'Indigenous Self-Determination:Rethinking the Relationship Between Rights and Economic Development', The University of NSW Law Journal, vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 850-861.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 2000, 'Consent In A (neo) Colonial Society: Aboriginal Women As Sexual And Legal other', Australian Feminist Studies, vol. 15, no. 33, pp. 353-367.
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Behrendt, L.Y. 1996, 'At The Back Of The Class. At The Front Of The Class: Experiences As Aboriginal Student And Aboriginal Teacher', Feminist Review, vol. 0, no. 52, pp. 27-35.
This is a personal account of an Aboriginal woman who went through the education system in Australia to obtain finally her law degree. Aboriginal people experience many hurdles in the education system. Many Aboriginal children feel alienated within the l

Non traditional outputs

Longman, C.D., Behrendt, L. & De Santolo, J. 2014, 'Innocence Betrayed', Ronin Films, NITV.
Feature Length Documentary Film
De Santolo, J.J., Parsons, I., Behrendt, L. & Cavadini, F. 2014, 'Protecting Manuwangku', National Indigenous TV.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2012, 'Avoiding An Era Of Symbolism In Indigenous Affairs', LEFT TURN, Melbourne University Press, Carlton, Australia, pp. 82-92.
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Australia Day, 2012. It is forty years since four Aboriginal, men drove from Redfern in Sydney to Canberra to set up a small protest against the McMahon government's refusal to support a land' rights agenda for Indigenous Australia. The original action in 1972 captured the attention of the nation-and the world-but it also resonated with the deep dissatisfaction felt by Aboriginal people who, five years after the success of the 1967 referendum, found their day-to-day circumstances had not changed.
Behrendt, L.Y. 2009, 'Legacy', University of Queensland Press, Brisbane, Australia.
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Simone Harlowe is young and clever, an Aboriginal lawyer straddling two lives and two cultures while studying at Harvard. Her family life back in Sydney is defined by the complex relationship she has with her father, Tony, a prominent Aboriginal rights activist. As Simone juggles the challenges of a modern woman's life - career, family, friends and relationships - her father is confronting his own uncomfortable truths as his secret double life implodes. Can Simone accept her father for the man he is and forgive him for the man he's not?
Behrendt, L.Y. 2004, 'Home', University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Australia.
Behrendt, L.Y., 'Home', Fresh Cuttings, University of Queensland Press, St Lucia, Australia.
De Santolo, J.J. & Behrendt, L.Y., '5126', 5126 DVD, Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, National Indigenous Times.
5126' :a new media collaboration that reflects on the impact of the Australian 1967 Referendum - 40 years on.
Longman, C.D. & Behrendt, L., 'Fred Maynard: Aboriginal Patriot'.
Fred Maynard: Aboriginal Patriot Narrated by Professor John Maynard, this short documentary film focuses on the life of his grandfather Fred Maynard, who established the AAPA in the 1920s, the first large scale Aboriginal rights movement. Fred was born on 4 July 1879 at Hinton, New South Wales. In 1925 Maynard launched the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association (A.A.P.A.). The group protested against the revocation of north-coast farming reserves; they also demanded that children no longer be separated from their families, or indentured as domestics and menial labourers. The A.A.P.A. advocated that all Aboriginal families should receive inalienable grants of farming land within their traditional country, that their children should have free entry to public schools, and that Aborigines should control any administrative body affecting their lives.


Longman, C.D., Behrendt, L. & Vivian, A. 2015, 'Submission to the Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs regarding the Native Title Amendment (Reform) Bill No. 1, 2012.'.
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Longman, C.D. & Behrendt, L. 2015, 'Submission to Andrew Tink AM on his appointment by letters patent to conduct a review for the NSW Government on options for a single Police Oversight Model.'.
Longman, C.D. & Behrendt, L. 2015, 'Submission to the Hon. David Shoebridge on the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Amendment (Double Jeopardy) Bill 2015.'.
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Longman, C.D., Behrendt, L. & Emmett, E. 2014, 'Comment on the Consorting Issues Paper: Review of the Use of Consorting Provisions by the NSW Police Force: Division 7, Part 3A of the Crimes Act 1900.'.
Longman, C.D. & Behrendt, L. 2014, 'Supplementary Submission to the Inquiry into the Family Response to the Murders in Bowraville and Responses to Questions on Notice'.
A Supplementary Submission to the NSW Legislative Council's Standing Committee on Law and Justice Inquiry into the Family Response to the Murders in Bowraville including Responses to Questions on Notice
Longman, C.D., Watson, N., Nicholson, A., Vivian, A., Priest, T., De Santolo, J., Gibson, P., Behrendt, L. & Cox, E. 2012, 'Listening But Not Hearing: A Response to the NTER Stronger Futures Consultations June to August 2011.'.
A report compiled between researchers at Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning evaluating the Stronger Futures consultation process against Australia's obligations under international law to consult with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in relation to decisions that affect them. The Report includes a 'Report Card' providing an overview of the efficacy of the consultation process.
Longman, C.D. & behrendt 2012, 'Submission to the Commonwealth Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Low Aromatic Fuel (LAF) Bill 2012'.
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Longman, C.D. & behrendt 2012, 'A submission to the Director, Criminal Law Review, NSW Department of Attorney General and Justice regarding the Statutory Review of Part 8 of the Crimes (Appeal and Review) Act 2006'.
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Longman, C.D., behrendt, L. & Anthony, T. 2011, 'Response to the NSW Law Reform Commission on Sentencing Law Review'.
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Longman, C.D. & behrendt, L. 2011, 'Response to the National Human Rights Plan Secretariat Baseline Study'.
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Response to the National Human Rights Plan Secretariat, Human Rights Policy Branch, Cth Attorney-General's Department relating to the Draft National Human Rights Baseline Study


Behrendt, L.Y., Larkin, S., Griew, R. & Kelly, P. Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education 2012, Review of Higher Education Access and Outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People: Final Report.
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National review into Indigenous higher education issues
Vivian, A.M., Schnierer, E.M., Behrendt, L.Y. & Gibson, P. Senate Community Affairs Committee 2010, Submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into Social Security and Other Legislation Amendment (Welfare Reform and Reinstatement of Racial Discrimination Act) Bill 2009 and the Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous, pp. 1-34, Canberra.
Behrendt, L.Y. & Vivian, A.M. State of Victoria 2010, Indigenous self-determination and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities - a framework for discussion, pp. 1-32, Melbourne, Australia.
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The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (the Charter) requires the Attorney-General to undertake a review of its first four years of operation and a report based on the review must then be tabled in parliament in October 2011. One of the specific issues that the review must address is whether the right to self-determination should be enshrined in the Charter
Nicholson, A., Behrendt, L.Y., Vivian, A.M., Watson, N. & Harris, M. Concerned Australians 2009, Will They Be Heard? A response to the NTER Consultations, June to August 2009, pp. 1-45, Melbourne, Australia.
This Report has its genesis in the great work done by the group known as `concerned Australians in conjunction with the relevant Aboriginal Communities in the Northern Territory and in the tireless enthusiasm of Michele Harris, who is one of the co-authors of this Report. We are particularly fortunate to have the involvement of the other co-authors Larissa Behrendt and Nicole Watson, both of whom are Aboriginal and Alison Vivian, who bring their own particular knowledge and appreciation of the problems discussed.
Behrendt, L.Y., Watson, N., McCausland, R. & Vivian, A.M. Northern Territory Emergency Response Review Board 2008, Submission to the Review of the Northern Territory National Emergency Response, pp. 1-110, Canberra.