Imagine, if you will, what might change in terms of our identity as citizens if Australia were to become a Republic – something that many see as inevitable, albeit a situation which is yet to become a reality. I’m not talking here about the tokenism of a new flag or a contemporary national anthem, or even in the transfer of proxy leadership from a Governor General as representative of the English Crown to a President as representative of the Federation of States and Territories. Rather, my interest lies in what happens to the superior interest in land and the associated subsidiary property rights when (rather than if) Australia becomes a Republic, and what the ramifications are for notions of identity… if we replace the Crown and the Crown’s superior interest in the land with something, and if that something is an acknowledgement of the guardianship of the land through Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander stewardship, would this, could this, or should this affect the underlying way that we as 21st century citizens relate to real property.

In his recently published chapter – A 21st Century Citizen in a brave new Republic – Spike Boydell explores how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander native title could be prioritised over freehold land if, or when, Australia becomes a Republic.

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