Australian Studies, Volume 3, Series 2 (2011)

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Welcome to Country? Aboriginal Sovereignties and Asylum Seekers

Emma Cox


This essay considers what might derive from a structurally marginalised but effectively acknowledged Aboriginal Australian territorial authority (inhering in the right to welcome the newcomer to country) in the context of determinations  of belonging and non-belonging, deserving refugee and audacious boat-person. It traces points of engagement between Aboriginal people and unauthorised arrivals (asylum seekers and refugees) and considers the imagining of such engagement in Michael James Rowland’s  feature film Lucky Miles (2007). In this,  the essay is concerned less with material interventions into Australian sovereign biopower vis-à-vis asylum than with affective interventions, examined as three broad modalities: activism (protests, statements and critical discourse), intimacy (interpersonal contact and support) and art (cinematic representation).

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