Land Rights & Indigenous Australia Law Race &Indigenous People Dr Wayne Atkinson Senior Lecturer & Fellow Political Science University of Melbourne. Lecture Format. The Land Rights Struggle Land Rights & Native Title Yorta Yorta case study (1994-2002) Treatment of Oral Evidence.
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Law Race &Indigenous People
Dr Wayne Atkinson
Senior Lecturer & Fellow
University of Melbourne
Prime Minister Gough Whitlam pours a handful of soil through the fingers of Gurindji elder Vincent Lingiari, at the hand back of 3,238 sq- kms of land in August 1975. Gurindji struggle symbolised in song: ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’ by Paul Kelly & Kevin Camody (Photo: Merv Bishop)
In a LR claim Indigenous Australians seek a grant of title to land from the Commonwealth, State or Territory governments.
Grant may recognise traditional Indigenous interests in land, and protect those interests by giving indigenous people legal ownership of that land- mostly in form of ‘inalienable freehold title’.
In order to be accepted, LR claims must meet a set of conditions-Crown retains certain interests in land, mining and access.
Fiction of terra nullius was unjust and discriminatory.
Had no place in the contemporary law of Australia
Common law of this country would perpetuate injustice if it were to continue to embrace the enlarged notion of terra nullius and to persist in characterising the indigenous inhabitants of the Australian colonies as people too low in the scale of social organisation to be acknowledged as possessing rights and interests in land’
Decision was a twofold rejection of terra nullius and the imported racial ideology used to prop it up.
Yorta Yorta v State of Victoria & Ors,
What is it ? How does it work? and how can it be used to enhance local Indigenous control & empowerment?
JM is a compromise position, to that of ‘sole management’ which has been practiced by Indigenous Australians for the majority of our land management history-60000 years or since creation, land has been cared for as ancestral lands in a more holistic way.
Spirit of Dhungulla: Keep Her Flowin
Old River Reds: Keep-em Growin
Thank you: Dr Wayne Atkinson, Yorta Yorta Elder
Senior Fellow, University of Melbourne