Extinguishment & the RDA
Extinguishment of native title would be subject to any law of the Commonwealth. The most relevant act for this purpose was the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. The effect of the RDA would be to give native title the same level of protection as was available to other forms of land title.
That fact threw a question mark over the validity of titles granted by governments over lands subject to surviving native title since 1975. The goal of validating those doubtful titles was one of the reasons for the enactment of the Native Title Act 1993 (Cth), which also reinforced federal protection for native title.
Justice Brennan wrote, in the course of his judgment:
'To treat the dispossession of the Australian Aborigines as the working out of the Crown's acquisition of ownership of all land on first settlement is contrary to history. Aborigines were dispossessed of their land parcel by parcel, to make way for expanding colonial settlement. Their dispossession underwrote the development of the nation.'
[(1992) 175 C.L.R. 1 at 68 - 69]
Keywords: Brennan, Justice Gerard, Canberra, dispossession, extinguishment, High Court Decision, 03/06/1992, High Court of Australia, native title, Native Title Act (1993), Racial Discrimination Act , 1975 , 1992
(1992) 175 C.L.R. 1 at 68 - 69.
Author: Nettheim, Garth
Source: Brennan, Justice