Home' InDaily : June 17th 2010 Contents 6|Vol21No5June2010
Fairness and equity could provide a just future
South Australia's founding fathers failed
to obey Royal instructions in respecting
Aboriginal peoples' ownership of land but
it is not too late to develop a new
relationship that provides a foundation
"for a more just future", according to
Mr Shaun Berg.
Delivering the Elliott Johnston Tribute
Lecture recently, Mr Berg -- principal of
Berg Lawyers -- said "the virulence of the
strain of dispossession in Australia was
presumed to be absolute and lethal to
Aboriginal land rights until the decision
by the High Court in Mabo" in 1992.
Mr Berg detailed the actual language used
in the Letters Patent, drafted by King
William IV, establishing the colony in 1836,
and related documents. He argues these
documents confirm that "British colonial
policy recognised the need to protect the
property rights of Aboriginal people".
"Without doubt, the legal structure being
created in South Australia was designed
to protect Aboriginal rights to land. But
equally clearly those rights were not
protected and we find ourselves in a
situation, some 180 years later, confronted
with what to do," Mr Berg said.
"There can be no denying today that the
modern view is that Aboriginal people
have elaborate social and cultural
organisation which has its foundations in
a relationship with land. This relationship
was protected within the words of the
Letters Patent," he added.
"It is clear that in 2010 the
position of Aboriginal people
in South Australia falls far
short of the promises made
by the Crown and the
But he said that Aboriginal leaders retain
"the goodwill and commitment to
negotiation," noting that Associate
Professor Daryle Rigney -- a Ngarrindjeri
man and research coordinator of
Yunggorendi First Nations Centre for
Higher Education and Research at
Flinders -- has said 'it is time for
Australia to act as a mature and
responsible nation and to reach in and
examine its own heart' ".
Mr Berg added: "Australia's colonial past
includes reprehensible practices and
events but there also exist principles of
fairness and equity within colonial policy
"An examination of those principles
provides an opportunity for Aboriginal
and non-Aboriginal communities to work
together to create a new relationship
which provides a foundation for a more
just future for Aboriginal people in South
Australia and across Australia," he said.
Flinders Law School
Almost two thirds of women over 30
seeking to terminate a pregnancy were
using contraception at the time of
becoming pregnant, a Flinders University
researcher has found.
The study was conducted by
Ms Wendy Abigail, a final-year PhD
candidate in the School of Nursing and
Midwifery looking at fertility
management issues of women over 30
prior to a termination of pregnancy, and
was published in the Australian Journal
of Primary Health.
She surveyed almost 1000 women who
presented to Adelaide's largest clinic
between 1996 and 2006 about their
Her study also found that, overall, 90 per
cent of women left the clinic with some
form of contraception.
"This study dispels the myth that women
over 30 are using termination as another
form of contraception," Ms Abigail said.
"They are taking measures to manage
their fertility, whether they're using
Abortion not a contraception option
natural family planning, barrier methods
or hormone methods of contraception,"
"But contraception can fail. The Pill may not
be effective if the woman has diarrhoea or
vomiting. Condoms can break."
"And as women get into the older
reproductive age group, their patterns of
fertility aren't always as easy to recognise.
So they may successfully have been using
natural planning methods for 10 years
and all of a sudden it hasn't worked."
Termination of pregnancy, Ms Abigail said,
was often a last resort.
"While our survey was purely quantitative,
these data do not support the commonly
held view that women are irresponsible
with contraception usage," she said.
"Women don't think, 'I'll just get a
termination if anything goes wrong'. It's an
inconvenience and it's emotionally draining."
Ms Abigail said she hoped the research
would lead to the development of health
promotion activities to cater for the
over-30 age group.
"Women are commencing childbearing
later in life and there are many unique
and personal reasons for this. Improving
their awareness of their changing fertility
patterns and contraception options can
only lead to more informed decision-
making," she said.
"It may also lead to greater
understanding within the community."
Mr Eddie Mabo
Photo: Jim McEwan
Mrs Wendy Abigail
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