Today the National Native Title Council (NNTC) received notice that Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC withdrew the High Court case against Mr Shayne Montgomery, which sought to overturn established legal precedent and give the Federal Government the power to deport Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are not Australian citizens from their own country.
Mr Montgomery, whose visa has been reinstated, is now able to live safely with his family and community. Importantly, the High Court’s landmark decision in Love; Thoms stands and will remain undisturbed so that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cannot be deported from their own country.
“Mabo found we had and continue to have an ongoing connection to this country that predates the assertion of British sovereignty by about 80,000-120,000 years,” says Jamie Lowe – Gundjitmara Djabwurrung man and NNTC CEO.
“The Love and Thoms cases confirmed that we are unique to other Australians, in that our belonging is so fundamental, it extends beyond the legal instruments of citizenship. It would be absurd to think we could be regarded as aliens in our own country.
The re-opening the High Court ruling of Love and Thoms by the previous Federal government was an act of state violence and racism, equivalent to a return to the doctrine of terra nullius through which the colonisers overlooked the inconvenient truth of our existence” continues Mr Lowe.
Back in April of this year the High Court heard arguments against the case from The National Justice Project’s instructing solicitor and Kamilaroi (Gamilaraay) woman Karina Hawtrey.
“We were proud to represent the National Native Title Council to ensure that the views of a First Nations representative body were taken into account in this significant High Court case.
We welcome the news that the case has been discontinued and that the new Federal Government is no longer seeking to overturn the precedent in Love; Thoms. That case was an important step forward in recognition of the unique legal position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their enduring connection to country.”
The NNTC gratefully acknowledges the new Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus QC for withdrawing the High Court case against Mr Shayne Montgomery, and extends further thanks to the National Justice Project, Professor Kirsty Gover and Dr Eddie Cubillo from the Melbourne University Law School, Mr Bret Walker SC and Mr Lincoln Crowley QC for their invaluable assistance and support.
For all National Native Title Council media enquiries please contact
Sarah Easson E: firstname.lastname@example.org or M: 0419 228 642
To interview Karina Hawtrey Solicitor, National Justice Project please contact
Katrinah@justice.org.au or M: 0420 947 874