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June 2016 marks two significant anniversaries

Harry Blagg writes in The Conversation (10.6.16) that:

'June 2016 marks two significant anniversaries for the relationship between Australia’s Indigenous and settler populations. June 12 is the 30th anniversary of the Australian Law Reform Commission’s (ALRC) publication of its report on Aboriginal Customary Laws; and June 3 marked 24 years since the Mabo ruling.

'The ALRC report uncovered a wealth of information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices. Its aim was to determine the desirability of applying – on the whole or in part – customary law to Indigenous Australians.

'And the 1992 High Court ruling in the Mabo case was a game-changer; it consigned the legal fiction of terra nullius (the idea that Australia was uninhabited at the time of British colonisation) to the dustbin of history.'

From little things

Lee Godden writes in The Conversation (10.6.16):

'The Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Laws report was released by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) in June 1986, after an intensive, nine-year inquiry. The report examined the interaction between two legal systems – one based in British law “received” at colonisation and the other in the customary laws of the Aboriginal peoples of Australia. In a post-Mabo Australia, the significance of the core question about “recognition” of Aboriginal customary law no longer seems so world-defining. It’s difficult to re-enter the view that admitted little challenge to the centrality of one law for Australia – or for the foundational legal position that Australia was a settled colony and uninhabited (terra nullius).'

ALRC 1986 Report 'a notion well before its time'

AJ Wood writes in The Conversation (10.6.16):

'While the Australian Law Reform Commission's 1986 report on the use of customary law for Aboriginal people was a great initiative, it was, in hidsight, a notion well before its time.'


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