Just the other day, in the context of the employers’ insatiable grasping for more and more ‘labour market reforms’, eroding employees’ basic rights further and further in the name of ‘flexibility’ and ‘certainty’, I was reminded of the ‘certainty’ that the cockies (pastoralists, ranchers) had demanded in the wake of the historic 1992 Australian High Court decision on Native Title. Even though the High Court determined that there was such a thing as native title, just about anything would ‘extinguish’ it and the native title holders were entitled to no compensation for the extinguishment of their title.
Annabel Stafford reports in today’s
"It is clear from recent judgements that, in some parts of
Moreover, in some areas where Aborigines had maintained a strong connection with the land, "few if any native title rights and interests" had survived the effects of white settlement, Mr Neate said. This was because almost any land dealing — such as the granting of freehold land, even if it is never used — extinguishes native title rights.
"In other words, as a matter of law, native title has been extinguished even though on the facts native title could (exist)," Mr Neate told the conference.
Because of this, the only hope many indigenous Australians have of seeing their land rights recognised is a private company or government agreeing to give them some rights or privileges in relation to their land.
As if Indigenous people hadn’t had quite enough of relying on the generosity very colonists who had stolen their land in the first place. As if that munificence had ever extended beyond the odd crumb! ‘…agreeing to give them some rights or privileges in relation to their land’…just about says it all.