ANU academic honoured by Canadian university

ANU academic honoured by Canadian university
31 January 2018

Indigenous peoples have always known that water is more than a utility, it is a fact that water is inseparable from land, and both are sacred.

ANU academic Dr Virginia Marshall, has been honoured by Canada's University of Victoria for outstanding research achievements by a female scholar.

The University of Victoria conferred the Distinguished Women Scholars Award on Dr Marshall and invited her to deliver the Distinguished Women Scholars Lecture at the Canadian university this week.

Dr Marshall is the first scholar to be appointed under the ANU Indigenous Australian Postdoctoral Fellowships Program.

"Recognition by the University of Victoria, Canada, of my research on Aboriginal water property rights and interests in Australia resonates with Indigenous peoples around the world," she said.

"Indigenous peoples have always known that water is more than a utility, it is a fact that water is inseparable from land, and both are sacred."

Dr Marshall is Australia's leading legal scholar on Aboriginal water rights and interests.

Drawing on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Dr Marshall's lecture argued that the preservation of Aboriginal water rights should be prioritised above the water rights and interests of other groups.

"This would help sweep away the injustice of 'aqua nullius' and provide the first Australians with full recognition and status of their water rights and interests," she said.

As well as her Postdoctoral work with the ANU School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet) and the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Dr Marshall is a practising lawyer and duty solicitor with a strong focus in pro bono work for Indigenous communities across Australia.

She is also a professional member of the NSW Law Society and Women Lawyers Association of NSW.