OPINION: Court made right call on indigenous non-citizens
I PERSONALLY agree with this week's historic High Court ruling that indigenous Australians cannot be considered illegal aliens.
It was absolutely appalling that the Federal Government attempted to deport people from their ancestral home and was willing to fight the matter in court.
Some have claimed that the ruling creates a different class of Australians.
And that's correct.
Indigenous Australians are a different class of people to the rest of us when it comes to their connection to this country.
Their ancestors lived here for tens of thousands of years before any Johnny-come-lately arrived on the scene.
Stephen Keim, the barrister who represented the two men involved, put it most beautifully, invoking Mabo during the case: "To remove Aboriginal Australians from the country would be another, if not worse, case of dispossession.''
As one of the judges in the majority, Justice Michelle Gordon said: "The constitutional term 'aliens' does not apply to Aboriginal Australians, the original inhabitants of this country". She also importantly noted that the Constitution does not prohibit special treatment of a race (I wonder how many supporters of that will now change their mind).
It is perverse any government could define an indigenous Australian as an alien.
Of course, the ruling only applies to a very small number of Aboriginal Australians who aren't citizens so in most criminal cases it won't apply.