The Yorta Yorta people were one of the first Indigenous groups to make a native title claim in Australia, in February 1994. The Yorta Yorta people claimed native title to an area of land and waters in the Northern Victoria and Southern New South Wales. However, the High Court rejected the appeal, and it was concluded by the judge that the Yorta Yorta people had ceased to occupy their traditional lands with relation to their traditional laws and customs, and that the period of time in between had washed away any evidence and acknowledgement of the practise of their traditional laws and customs. In order for Indigenous people to prove their Native Title rights, they must prove that they have had an uninterrupted connection with the land and the practise of the traditional laws and customs has been maintained since time of colonization. This rule disregards the effects of colonization; that indigenous people have been forcibly removed from their homes, cultures being forcibly altered which all results in an adaption to the new environment and way of life. Therefore, the required burden of proof is quite discriminatory, making it increasingly difficult for Indigenous people to prove
The 2007 The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) states that ‘Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development’. The right to self-determination is born from the legal and cultural acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples as Australia’s first settlers, and is important in the context of the Australian Legal System. Self-determination may be used by the courts to interpret domestic legislation, as well as
The court case consisted of the Queensland government passing an act and trying to pass a law which prevented Aboriginal people, from claiming native title. Native title in Australia being the government recognising the traditional connection that the Indigenous people have with the land and waters. Mabo eventually won this case, the result not being that they could claim native title but that the possibility was
The Yirrkala Bark Petition of 1963 was a result of Governments giving native Aboriginal land to mining companies on a mining lease. The Aboriginals claimed that their land was being taken away from them without compensation. The aim of this particular protest was to gain back the land that had been given away through the mining lease and be apologised to by the Australian government. These aims are summarised in the aborigine’s simple desire to be accepted into the Australian community and to be granted rights as well as acknowledgment that they have ties to the land. The local Yirrkala elders signed an ornate and artistic petition to have the mining lease revoked. As a result, the government set up a committee to oversee the decision made and to mediate future decision on similar matters. Despite the lease going ahead, it was acknowledged that there were Aboriginal sacred sites on the land where the lease was valid and it was agreed that those sites would be protected. This decision alone didn’t have a great effect however it showed the Aboriginals that the Australian government acknowledged there ties to the land and it showed the Australian government that the Aboriginals did have rights to regions throughout Australia even if those rights were not to be recognised for almost 30 years.
The Effectiveness of the Law in Achieving Justice for Indigenous People In relation to Australia, the term ‘Indigenous peoples’ refers to two distinct cultures of people who inhabited the land prior to European settlement – The Aboriginals and the Torres Strait Islanders. This population declined dramatically over the 19th and early 20th century due to the introduction of new diseases from European settlement, Government policies of dispersal and dispossession, the era of protection, assimilation and integration causing a cultural disruption and disintegration of the Indigenous peoples. In the 20th century the recognition and protection of Indigenous peoples land rights and human rights have been
Indigenous Australians have been fighting for their civil rights since European colonisation in 1788, in particular, for their rights to land ownership. Prior to the Mabo land rights case, there was very little success when it came to indigenous Australians making claims. The Mabo case took land rights to the highest court in Australia. It succeeded in achieving land rights and overturning Terra Nullius. The Mabo case helped to continue to chip away at the barriers of civil rights. The Mabo Case was a step towards Indigenous equality.
The case of Mabo decision with Queensland government was one of the most significant legal case in Australia, which recognised the land rights and the original ownership of Murray islanders in the Torres Strait. It was acting by Murray islanders and the High Court upheld. Based on the successful legal case, there are some key issues in the process for Indigenous’ land rights, which were changed in Australia law and affect future rulings in Australia, such as the Native Title ruling of the Aboriginal people’s land rights after the High Court passed the Act in 1993; in addition, due to this alteration of Australian laws, it not only had a big impact of Murray islanders but also on some other groups of Aboriginal people’s land rights reform.
They claimed that their rights to the land had not been extinguished by the Crown when their islands were taken over or annexed by Queensland. They still had a legal right to the land based on the legal concept of ‘native title’ – right of ownership based on traditional ownership of the land. The Queensland Government’s response was to pass the Coast Islands Declaratory Act, 1985.
This case and the resulting test were instrumental in defining aboriginal rights. However, it was also very controversial as it confirmed one thing: aboriginal rights are not absolute and this has been highlighted in numerous cases whereby aboriginal rights being denied.
The term ‘Native Title’ refers to the right of Indigenous people to their traditional land. In Australia it has a legal significance of the right to an area of land, claimed by people whose ancestors were the original inhabitants of the land before European settlement. Also who can prove that they have had a continuous connection with the land. Native Title is the term given by the High Court to Indigenous land rights by the Court in Mabo and others v State of Queensland (No.2)  HCA 23. The case required
Over the past years, Canadian courts have repeatedly urged that aboriginal title conflicts should be resolved through negotiation, rather than litigation. The primary reason being that litigation is costly and time-consuming. For example, the decision for the Delgamuukw case took a duration of thirteen years. Furthermore, litigations that deal with the issue of aboriginal rights and title are “generally narrowly focused” and “ultimately leaves the question [posed about] how aboriginal rights and title apply unwarned.” For instance, the courts of Canada repeatedly failed to come up with a clear definition on the legal scope of Aboriginal rights despite the fact that they have several opportunities to do so. The Delgamuuku case clearly illustrates this when the Court “did not define how aboriginal title applied for the First Nations involved.” Instead, the Court came to the conclusion that a new trial was required, which ultimately will be more expensive and take longer.