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For five centuries protection has provided a basic currency for organising relations between polities. Protection underpinned sprawling tributary systems, permeated networks of long-distance trade, reinforced claims of royal authority in distant colonies and structured treaties. Empires made routine use of protection as they extended their influence, projecting authority over old and new subjects, forcing weaker parties to pay them for safe conduct and, sometimes, paying for it themselves. The result was a fluid politics that absorbed both the powerful and the weak while giving rise to institutions and jurisdictional arrangements with broad geographic scope and influence. This volume brings together leading scholars to trace the long history of protection across empires in Asia, Africa, Australasia, Europe and the Americas. Employing a global lens, it offers an innovative way of understanding the formation and growth of empires and uncovers new dimensions of the relation of empires to regional and global order.
The 1967 referendum to alter Australia's Constitution is now seen as an event that marked a major turning point in Aboriginal–European relations in Australia. In this chapter we will examine the referendum from a number of perspectives. First, we explore its constitutional significance: can the argument be made, for example, that it conferred citizenship on the Aboriginal people in a legal sense? Secondly, we consider the much more complex issue of the meanings attached to the referendum, both in the immediate context and in the medium and long term: how was the referendum understood by the government that presented it to the electorate, by the political lobbyists who argued for change, and by those who voted? How have these understandings changed over time, and what explains the divergent meanings attached to the referendum today?
Over the last decade enormous significance has been attributed to what is now called the 1967 Aboriginal Rights Referendum or simply the 1967 Aboriginal Referendum. Meanwhile the nature of the constitutional changes it entailed has been increasingly submerged. Myths about the referendum are promulgated in many forums and have acquired enormous authority over time.
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