Themis is a JATL publication that may rightly be considered the birth of Pandora's Blog. Running alongside JATL's legacy publication, Pandora's Box, the Themis newsletter featured complementary material, but was ultimately aimed at giving students and members a platform to contribute opinions and research. Themis was retired in 2015, though its spirit lives on in Pandora's Blog.


Welcome to the last ever published edition of Themis. Given the way that Themis has evolved over the years in focusing more on student made material, the JATL team decided that its new role would be better served as an online blog. As such, the functioning of Themis has now been absorbed into what is now known as ‘Pandora’s Blog’, which will feature flowing content rather than four fixed publication dates each year. The JATL team would like to welcome Balawyn Jones and Jocelyn Bosse into their new roles as managers of this blog, as well as Shane Montgomery as president for 2015 and all of our other new executive members. As for myself, this is my last year on the JATL executive and I would like to congratulate the entire team on all of our successes in 2014 and to thank them for their support in the running of Themis this year. May 2015 herald a new year of success and progress.

The final edition of Themis is based on indigenous legal issues. If you were paying attention to our previous federal election, you could be perhaps forgiven for wondering if indigenous issues are still important today. With issues like climate change, immigration and the economy stealing the stage, indigenous issues, legal and otherwise, seemed to be sidelined. This is difficult to comprehend, given that indigenous groups remain the most disadvantaged within Australia. Your average Australian may be surprised by just how dire issues faced by indigenous communities actually are.  For example, many indigenous Australians even today are faced with health, education and employment standards among many others not only severely worse than non-indigenous Australians, but also comparable to third-world conditions (source). 

This edition of Themis develops in particular the legal challenges faced by indigenous Australians in ‘Stolen Generations litigation’, whereby members of Australia’s stolen generation seek compensation through the courts for the atrocities committed against them by the Australian government in the past. These submissions were made by Kelly Staunton and Alasdair McCallum, and were written as final research essays for the subject LAWS5135: Law of Indigenous People held in 2014, and have been used with permission from the University and subject coordinator Associate Professor Margaret Stephenson. We would like to thank the students for their submissions, as well as commend them for their outstanding contribution to scholarship on indigenous legal issues. As is highlighted in both articles, members of the stolen generation still face significant if not insurmountable legal hurdles due to complex legal problems both in equity and the law of evidence. These problems, among others, serve as examples of the Australian government’s inability to truly embody the sentiment of reports such as the 1997 Bringing Them Home report and Kevin Rudd’s 2008 apology to the indigenous community for the Australian government’s past wrongdoings, as is further discussed in both submissions. As both of these submissions highlight, there is still much more work to done on indigenous legal issues in Australia.

Our final submission in this edition is a testimonial from Elizabeth Emmett from her time interning at the Aurora Native Title Internship Program in summer 2014. Her submission gives valuable insight into how students can be involved in working with indigenous legal issues. More information about internship opportunities and the work of the Aurora Project can be found here.

Finally, from the entire JATL team of 2014/2015 we hope you have had a happy holiday period, and we hope to see you in 2015. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and newly renovated website for more information about our upcoming events and other internship and work opportunities.

Sean Goodwin

Themis Editor 2014