Photo: Peter Boyle

On 15 September 2012 a Welcome to Aboriginal Land Passport Ceremony was held in Redfern. Over 200 people, including newly arrived asylum seekers, were issued with an Aboriginal Passport by Ray Jackson, President of the Indigenous Social Justice Association. The ceremony itself is an important and powerful disruption of settler colonialism and its assumptions of national sovereignty. It recognizes, furthermore, that indigenous sovereignty was never ceded. At the same time, the ceremony undermines the authority of state-issued passports as documents that finally determine questions of inclusion and exclusion. As the Ceremony organisers write, “the issuing of the Passports covers two important areas of interactions between the Traditional Owners of the Lands and migrants, asylum seekers and non-Aboriginal citizens of this country. Whilst they acknowledge our rights to all the Aboriginal Nations of Australia we reciprocate by welcoming them into our Nations. It is a moral win-win for all involved in the process”.

This Seminar, one week after the event, will consider a range of issues raised by the ceremony, including the politics of sovereignty; whether a singular indigenous sovereignty is possible; as well as what alternative sovereignties might look like.

The seminar will be chaired by Eve Vincent and will involve the following speakers:

Ray Jackson – President of the Indigenous Social Justice Association and long term activist who has been deeply involved in social movements for many years - from the Union movement through to deaths in custody and policing issues.

Maria Giannacopolous – a lecturer in Socio-legal Studies and Criminal Justice at Flinders University. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on the relations between law, justice and sovereignty with a specific emphasis on racialised communities (Indigenous peoples, refugees and migrants) in Australia.

Darren Parker – a Ngunnawal man, a graduate of University of Melbourne and currently a PhD student at the same university. On completion of this qualification he will be the first Aboriginal PhD graduate from Melbourne Law School. Darren has an interest in commercial law and in particular the social impact of law within our community and on the indigenous population in particular.

This seminar is the third in the Cross Border Collective’s monthly series of seminars on the theme of Politics, Colonialism, Borders. These seminars aim to bring together activists and academics to examine local and international movements and debates in order to develop a counter-politics of the border. In our view, any such political movement must confront and resist Australia’s colonial history and the ongoing dispossession of indigenous peoples. If you would like to get involved in future seminars, please email Katie Hepworth ( or Richard Bailey (

The CBC is a Sydney based group that has been working on projects around race, the border, migration and the state for around two years. In the past, the Cross Border Collective has organised conferences, events, forums, protest and direct action. For more information see:

22 September Tin Sheds Gallery, 2pm
Wilkinson Building Hearth, University of Sydney
Doors open 1.30pm for 2pm start.