In this chapter I deal with two important case studies. I take the Hindmarsh Island saga, and the Federal Intervention into the Northern Territory. My intention here is to show that in each case, the rights of the First Australians were either infringed or set aside to the long term detriment of this country. The Hindmarsh Island case was a particularly bitter struggle. A group of Aboriginal elders attempted to prevent the development of a bridge that would have damaged a site of great but secret importance to Aboriginal women. The women lost the case and the bridge was built. At stake was a defence by powerful vested interests of their prerogative to desecrate any aspect of Indigenous culture that stood in their way.

The Federal Intervention in the Northern Territory has proved to be an equally bitter event. Under Prime Minister Howard the Federal government ‘intervened’ in the Northern Territory, ostensibly to protect the children from sexual abuse. In the process they attempted to roll back the gains of the self-determination movement of the 1970s and 1980s. Thus they suspended the Racial Discrimination Act, seized several leases and set aside Indigenous control over access to the communities.