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Bain Attwood

Bain Attwood

Bain Attwood is Professor of History at Monash University. He is the author of several books about the history of Indigenous and settler peoples in Australia and New Zealand. His prize-winning book Empire and the Making of Native Title: Sovereignty, property and Indigenous people (Cambridge University Press) was published in 2020, and his latest book, 'A Bloody Difficult Subject': Ruth Ross, te Tiriti o Waitangi and the making of history, was published by Auckland University Press in May 2023. He is currently working on a project called 'Denial, Distance and Australia’s Black History', which is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation in Germany.

Bain Attwood on the referendum's burden of history

December 2023, no. 460 24 November 2023
The defeat of the proposal in the recent Aboriginal constitutional referendum was unsurprising given the forces at work, which I discussed in ‘A Referendum in Trouble’ (ABR, July 2023). Most importantly, it lacked the support of the Liberal and National parties once their leaders decided to oppose it, largely for partisan purposes. What is more remarkable is that the federal government and Ab ... (read more)

Bain Attwood on the history of the Voice referendum

July 2023, no. 455 26 June 2023
On 27 May 1967, a proposal to change two clauses of the Australian Constitution won the approval of 90.77 per cent of those who voted, the highest ever achieved in an Australian referendum. In the forthcoming referendum, according to various opinion polls, the best the advocates for a ‘yes’ vote can hope to achieve is a bare majority. How can this difference be explained? Several factors app ... (read more)

Bain Attwood reviews 'The English Text of the Treaty of Waitangi' by Ned Fletcher

December 2022, no. 449 25 November 2022
Across the past fifty or more years, indigenous peoples in Australia, Canada, and New Zealand have increasingly made political and legal claims about sovereignty and land. As this has occurred, numerous scholars in a broad range of disciplines – especially law and history – have tried to explain how these two matters were dealt with by the British empire in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nin ... (read more)