Just Relations: The story of Mary Bennett's crusade for Aboriginal rights
This book charts the life and work of one of Australia’s leading twentieth century human rights advocates. It recovers the efforts of Mary Bennett (1881-1961) to found a ‘just relationship’ between Aborigines and non-Aborigines in Australia from the late 1920s, when the possibility of Aboriginal human rights was first mooted on the international stage, to the 1960s, when an attempt was made to have the Aboriginal question raised before the United Nations.
By placing Bennett’s biography in the context of her humanitarianism—her crusade— Alison Holland reveals the ethics of care, as well as the tensions, contradictions and investments at the heart of humanitarian intervention. Along the way, she shows the forces and ideas which shaped Bennett’s advocacy and the wider context within which her story and her efforts took shape. In demonstrating the close connection between humanitarianism as a political project and the rise of human rights, Holland tells an important chapter in the little known history of human rights in Australia.
Shortlisted - 2016 NSW Premier's Australian History Prize
Praise for Just Relations:
A solid and methodical book such as the one Holland has written…feels valuable.
ANNA HEYWARD, THE AUSTRALIAN
Holland’s biography is a major achievement. It is also essential reading for anyone interested in Australian history.
MARILYN LAKE, THE UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE
A comprehensive and sophisticated study of Bennett in her ideological and political milieu and a thorough representation of the evolution of Aboriginal policy debates. [Just Relations] is an important contribution to Australian history that was worth the wait.
LAURA RADEMAKER, LILITH: A FEMINIST HISTORY JOURNAL