Aboriginal violence and state response: histories, policies, legacies in Queensland 1860-1940

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Finnane, Mark
Richards, Jonathan
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2010
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Abstract

During the long era of 'protection' (enacted in 1897, flourishing in the inter-war years and with effects continuing to this day) policy towards Australian Indigenous people suspected of inter-personal violence was ambiguous in its objectives and its means. Formally Indigenous peoples in Australia were British subjects entitled to the full protection of the law. As a consequence violence between Indigenous people was made visible through the conduct of inquests, police inquiries and in many cases subsequent arrest and charge with a criminal offence. Disposal of those charged or even suspected of crimes reflects tension between the universalising presumptions of the criminal law and the particularising effects of welfare regimes that ruled the lives of Indigenous people. Drawing on archives of inquests, courts and prisons in the Queensland jurisdiction before 1940, this article examines the policies and decision-making that characterised a state which remained determinedly colonial in its practises and ambitions. In conclusion, we consider briefly the question of how distinctive or how representative was Queensland practice as a state response to Indigenous violence during these decades of colonial subordination.

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Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology

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43

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2

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© 2010 SAGE Publications. This is the author-manuscript version of the paper. Reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.

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Criminology

Courts and sentencing

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history

Law in context

Legal systems

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