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  • 06 Equity and Rights in Society
  • Aboriginal Law
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Handbook

In this chapter Expand current chapter list below

Aboriginal Law

This chapter provides an explanation of what Aboriginal law is as well as describing particular rights that are protected by law (land, cultural, hunting and fishing). The chapter also explains the law of anti-discrimination and the disproportionate representation of Aborigines in the criminal justice system.

What is Aboriginal Law?

There is a distinction between Aboriginal law and the law which governs Aborigines in Australia today. . Aboriginal law is law that existed before the coming of the common law system that we continue to follow today. For a long time, the idea of Aboriginal law existing in Austr...

What is an Aborigine?

The Aboriginal Lands Act 1995 (Tas) defines an Aboriginal person as someone who can establish they have Aboriginal ancestry, self-identification as an Aboriginal person and communal recognition by members of the Aboriginal community (s3A). This is the same definition as accepted by the High Court...

Right to Land

Land law is the most important part of Aboriginal law. It defines who you are and where you belong. Even before the famous Mabo case (Mabo & Anor v Queensland (1992) 175 CLR 1), Australian society had begun to recognise the continuing importance of land to Aboriginal communities by passing ‘l...

Other Rights and Interests

Hunting and Fishing Taking fish from the sea and birds and animals from the land continues to be an important part of modern day Aboriginal law and culture in Tasmania. Until recently such activities were regarded as illegal unless allowed by legislation applicable to the general community and c...

Families

The Commonwealth's 1996 Inquiry Into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children From Their Families (‘the Stolen Generations’ Inquiry) documented the damage done to Aboriginal people, their families and community by past ‘welfare’ practices directed towards the assimilation ...

Discrimination

Discrimination on the grounds of race, colour and national or ethnic origin in employment, joining trade unions, housing, access to places and goods and services and in advertising, is illegal under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (s9). A number of provisions of the Racial Discrimination...

Indigenous self-determination, self-government and sovereinty

Whilst much of the focus in the recent decade has been on ‘Sorry’, and a wide cultural and political recognition of the wrongs of the past, there have been more other political movements to achieve representation for Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. Indigenous Australians never chose the s...

Aborigines and the Criminal Law

Aboriginal people have a disproportionate representation in a low socio-economic demographic. They are more likely to be arrested, charged with offences and imprisoned than any other group. Charges often involve drunkenness, bad language and defiance of authority as an element, an...

Legal Assistance

There is no legal impediment to Tasmanian Aborigines accessing the same legal assistance as other Tasmanian residents but the practical exclusion of many Aborigines from the criminal justice system resulted in the establishment of Aboriginal Legal Services throughout Australia in the early 1970s....

Organisations

Aboriginal organisations fulfil many functions in the Aboriginal community. They are a means of political advancement for the community and the maintenance of Aboriginal cultural identity in mainstream Australian society. Some are ‘grassroots’ organisations thrown up by the struggles of the Abori...

Page last updated 19/03/2018

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