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Indigenous Australians and Its Problems

The problem of defending human rights and freedoms has concerned people all over the world and it is the most significant purpose of legislation bodies. A special attention should be paid to defending rights of aboriginal population and their rights to their native land. That issue is on the agenda today since a tight confrontation of two interests is observed and the Native Title Act is the obvious evidence for that. Hence, a question arises: was the title and Mabo Bill, in particular, created in order to humiliate the rights of Aboriginal people? Do all the points of the Native Title correspond to the generally accepted human rights and why do white people oppose to that right? Let us consider these issues and decide what measures should be taken to eliminate the problem.

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The native or Aboriginal title is an official recognition by Australians their original right to live on their own land on the ground of their customs and traditions. However, some people who are used to leave according to European standards consider that the indigenous population does not deserve to handle their native land because they have an obscure idea about the current social community organization. (Paul Patton 2000) Even legal government does not entirely support the idea of submitting the equal rights to Aboriginal due to the existence of the supporters and the opponents of that position. That misunderstanding between two parties arises for the reason of ignorance what the native title notion implies. According to this, the active defenders of the native title believe that the Government’s decision concerning the granting the official status to the Aboriginal people were purposefully based on the pejorative attitude which was a direct hint on the racism. Since the problem of racism is a burning problem nowadays, it is reasonable to insist on the fact that there was a ground basis for the acknowledgement of racism. In addition, some researchers believe that decision taken by the British Government was an outright reflection of discrimination policy (Lupton D. 1999). Even more, there observed a direct intervention and severe fight for the Goldfield lands. So, it is the Government and political authorities who were implicitly and explicitly interested in the reducing the property rights of indigenous inhabitants since their concern were mostly concentrated on the incomes from mining and pastoral industries (Leach M. and Stokes G. 2000). Needless to say, that despite the official recognition of Native Title Act, the fact of placement of the aboriginal people on lower level of social hierarchy is an apparent fact (Nakata N. M. 2001) and features of racism had their roots in the power bodies.

In the book “Our land is our life” Noel Pearson, the author describes in detail the concept of the native title concerning the life of aboriginals in Australia from different points of you. He also studies the problem acquiring an official status of that title and whether this concept is acknowledged by the capitalist class. He believes that the problem of recognition lies in a considerable cultural gap between social communities and the current law system as well. So, due to the current common law in reference to the land problem the Aboriginal law is fully recognized despite the fact that the existence of the Aboriginal Law is proved by the social aspect only. (Pearson 1997) Further on, after Mabo’s case Torres Strait Islanders’ were granted with an improved variant of the Bill officially acknowledged by the Government but still limited in the rights. Nonetheless, there is an opposed idea concerning the rights of Aboriginal to the land. Since the entitlement of the native title concept officially took place, the indigenous inhabitants were entirely satisfied with corresponding High Court’s decision taking into account the fact that the land was free from pastoral and mining industries (Tickner R. 2001). There is a strong probability that was the only reason for the non indigenous inhabitances’ reluctance in occupying that land. Moreover, even if aboriginal people were granted with sovereignty there were still subjected to the Crown being aware of the fact that the sovereignty was adopted only officially. In fact, it was not carried out by the capitalist inhabitants (Johnston E and Hilton G. H. 1997)

As it is known, Mabo case in 1879 is closely connected with the annexation of Aboriginal Island to the British colony that only sustains the fact that the problem of sovereignty was not solved since with colonization implies ownership and sovereignty at one and the same time. That is why, it contradicts greatly the general concept since, on the one hand, the aboriginals gained a kind of independence and, on the other hand, they were under an overall control of the British government. In other words, the interest of the indigenous people was mortified in the pejorative way (Reynolds H.). Nowadays, the Mabo problem is discussed widely in press. Media coverage influences greatly the confrontation of the Government and the Mabo’s supporters. To be more exact, the story that was published in the press does not correspond to the reality and, as a result, that provokes continuous disagreements between the parties concerned. Although, the current authorities are striving to prevent further misunderstanding in order to keep piece and to cut off the false information flow to the press (Meadows M. 2001).

Before the official acknowledgment of the native title concept, the inhabitants of the Torre Strait Island were not conscious of possessing the land areas they live due to the fact that lease holder were not interest in revival of traditional reconciliation of Aboriginal lands. However, there exists an opposite idea of the positive effect of the lease phenomenon. Including the fact that lease has the date of expire proves the idea that by means of this lease the Government recognized the official status of the native title and protected the property rights of indigenous people (Brennan, F. 1998).

Although, the native title was accepted officially, the Aboriginals living in remote areas of the Torre Strait Island were not properly informed about the decision that involved mass disturbances among the supporters of the native title issue. In this case, the problem of “extinguishment of recognition” takes place (Pearson, N. 1997 p.159). In other words, in the aftermath of development of the common Law, the range of traditional rights to land for the Torres Strait Islanders was reduced officially. The United States intervention only aggravated the difficult situation when being entitled to make some corresponding amendments to the Native title. The moral reasons for the extinguishment of the native title should be properly considered since despite the idea the aborigine’s people that theory was based the on information unavailability. In other words, the aboriginal people did have right to negotiate on the issue and taking leading decisions concerning their own property. Instead, the Government and politicians did not pay much attention to the ignorance of the aboriginal population. Moreover, the native title did not spread among the whole indigenous community. Hence comes, inequality was observed even within aboriginal population.

So, a thorough overhaul of all advantages and disadvantages of the Native title and Mabo brings us to important decisions. First of all, it is necessary to admit that on the whole the rise of that problem has a positive impact not only on the indigenous population of Australia but other minority groups because it attached attention of many researchers and the supporters of that issue and is likely to contribute to the amelioration of the current inconsistencies of the Law. Secondly, the rise of that problem on the agenda provokes the statement that there exist plenty drawbacks in the system of the current Common Law, the attribute “common” in this case does not coincide the objective reality. In addition, the problem do relates to the problem of racism and inequality of rights due to the enormous amount of the arguments mentioned above. Consequently, the problem of native title should be obligatory discussed at the international level.

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Reference List

Brennan, F. 1998 The Wik Debate: Its Impact on Aborigines, Pastoralists and Miners. University of New South Wales Press, Sydney, NSW:

Johnston E. and Hilton G. H. 1997 Indigenous Australians and the law. Rutledge, UK.

Leach M. Stokes G. Ian Ward 2000 The rise of One Nation McPherson’s Printing Group, Australia.

Luptom Deborah 1999 Risk and sociocultural theory: new directions and perspectives. Cambridge University Press, UK

Meadows M. 2001 Voices in the wilderness: images of Aboriginal people in the Australian politics.

Nakata N. M. 2001 Indigenous people, racism and the United States. Common Ground, Australia.

Patton, P. 2000 Deleuze and the political. Rutledge, Great Britain

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Pearson, N. 1997 The concept of Native Title at Common Law. In: G. Yupingu, ed. Our Land is our life St. Lucia: University Queensland Press, pp. 150-161.

Reynolds H. 1996 Aboriginal sovereignty: reflection on race, state and nation. Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest.

Tickner, R. 2001 Taking a Stand: Land Rights to Reconciliation. Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, N.S.W.

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