Contesting Native Title: From Controversy to Consensus in the Struggle over Indigenous Land Rights

Contesting Native Title: From Controversy to Consensus in the Struggle over Indigenous Land Rights

Contesting Native Title: From Controversy to Consensus in the Struggle over Indigenous Land Rights

Contesting Native Title: From Controversy to Consensus in the Struggle over Indigenous Land Rights

Synopsis

A comprehensive account of the native title system in Australia, and a balanced assessment of the extent to which it has fulfilled the hopes of Aboriginal communities for land rights.

Excerpt

The history, politics, law and process associated with the recognition and protection of native title in Australia has produced a very large array of articles, collections of essays and monographs since the High Court delivered its decision in the Mabo case in 1992. The common law as declared in that case was channelled into the framework established by the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth) which was subject to contentious amendments in 1998, inspired in part by the decision of the High Court in Wik Peoples v State of Queensland in 1996. Further amendments to the Act since that time reflect concerns that the statutory process for the recognition and protection of native title has not met expectations and, in particular, has cost far too much and taken far too long. The large range of publications on the topic of native title demonstrates its difficult history, its complex multidimensional character and the need for inter-disciplinary approaches to its understanding.

This book puts the law and history of native title in Australia into its multidisciplinary context. Through the interlacing strands of the histories and political science of the institutions centrally involved in native title, David Ritter has woven a rich, fascinating and instructive tapestry. The text is at times unashamedly argumentative and not all of its readers will agree with all of its observations and conclusions. But this is quality polemic and worth reading to stimulate reflection and response, even if only by way of disagreement or quiet fury.

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