Document: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander treaties, constitutional and legal recognition and representation in Australia: a chronology 31 MAR 2022


The issues of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion in law, governance and the Constitution have a long history that can be tracked back to the establishment of the first colonies. In the context of current debates on whether and how to best progress constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, this paper aims to provide a brief history and chronology of the recognition, representation and treaty movements, highlighting the numerous attempts by a variety of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals and organisations, non-government organisations and governments to effect a lasting change. This paper covers the period from Captain James Cook’s original instructions in 1776 to 2021.

This chronology focuses on the development over time of the movement towards political rights such as voting rights, constitutional recognition and representative mechanisms and the related and interlinked treaty movements. It aims to gather key documents and developments together so as to facilitate current policy discussions.

License type: CC BY-NC-ND
Access Rights Type: open