Aporia Australis: lies and responsibility

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Cooke, G 2007, 'Aporia Australis: lies and responsibility', Double Dialogues, Issue 8, Summer.

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Introduction: As something of a prefatory move, I would like to begin with the proposition that Australia is a particularly appropriate place around which to structure a discussion of the lie, because in some way Australia was founded on a lie, and lives the reverberations of this lie daily. Contemporary Australia inherits this lie, it lives with it, savours it, experiences it as a quality of the light, a quality of the air, as well as an ongoing socio/cultural/economic reality. This lie is the lie of an empty land, a land of no-one, a terra nullius. As a concept, and as a technology of colonial power, terra nullius has a vexed history in Australia. Amongst other issues, debate has revolved around the official and documented role of terra nullius in Australian history; in other words, quibbling over what is historically documented, and what this documentation might mean, has resulted in assertions that terra nullius was introduced not as a part of the colonial machinery but as part of 20th century native title claims, primarily to do with the Mabo decision (Veracini 2006)....

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