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Terra Nullius
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Intro to Law Report radio programme:
Oh yea, oh yea. All persons having business before the honourable, the Supreme Court...

Chico Marx:
You can't fool me... there ain't no sanity clause.


Jon Faine:
This is the Law Report and I'm Jon Faine.

Australian courts don't often see cases litigated for years and years. But in the Queensland Supreme Court this week, a trial commences that's been before the courts since 1982 and looks like going on for quite a while yet. Professor Garth Nettheim from the Aboriginal Law Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney tells us what it's all about.


Professor Garth Nettheim:
Australia stands out as the one major British former colony that has never recognised the pre-existing rights of the indigenous peoples. If you take comparable countries like the United States of America, Canada or in New Zealand there has been recognition of the prior rights of the people In all of those countries there were treaties negotiated, none in this country, and in those countries the courts have recognised that pre-existing rights can continue. To this date, there has been no such recognition in Australia


Narration:
In 1788 the British claimed sovereignty and ownership of the entire Australian mainland, a continent in which Aborigines had dwelt for more than forty thousand years.

At the time of colonisation, as many as half a million Aborigines lived in distinct tribal areas throughout the land but to the European mind they were nomads without systems of law, social organisation, or property rights. So the British could claim the continent without need for treaty or compensation. Legally it was held to be Terra Nullius a land belonging to no-one.
Crown Land
Topic
 
colonisation, doctrine of tenure, indigenous Australians, International law, native title, New South Wales, sovereignty, terra nullius
International Comparisons
Topic
 
British law, Canada, colonialism, Common Law, High Court of Australia, Mabo Case, native title, New Zealand (Aotearoa), United States of America
US Domestic Dependent Nation Doctrine
Topic
1823
indigenous people, International law, treaties, United States of America
Aboriginal Rights & Title In Canada
Topic
1973-1982
Aboriginal Title, Canada, First Nations Canada, native title, treaties, United States of America
Other Jurisdictions
Topic
1973
colonisation, Common Law, High Court of Australia, Mabo Case, native title, Papua New Guinea
Adapted To Their Continent
Topic
 
Australia, First Fleet, indigenous people, land use
A Challenge To The Established Law
Topic
Apr, 3, 1987
Canberra, High Court of Australia, native title, Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act , 1985 , sovereignty, terra nullius
Barbarism
Topic
 
barbarism, conquest, International law
Aboriginal & Treaty Rights In Aotearoa - NZ
Topic
1840
Common Law, Maori, native title, New Zealand (Aotearoa), Privy Council, Treaty of Waitangi, 1840
Bases For Takeovers
Topic
Jun, 3, 1992
Australian Labor Party, barbarism, Brennan, Justice Gerard, terra nullius, Whitlam, Gough
Dispossession
Topic
 
colonisation, dispossession
Hierarchies Of Land Use
Topic
 
barbarism, colonisation, terra nullius
Justifications
Topic
 
barbarism, colonisation, terra nullius
Other Lands Settled By The British
Topic
 
Canada, colonisation, Common Law, native title, New Zealand (Aotearoa), treaties, Treaty of Waitangi, 1840 , United States of America
Resistance
Topic
 
activism, land rights, land rights, resistance, strike, unionism
Sovereignty & Ownership Distinguished
Topic
 
land ownership, Mabo judgement, native title, sovereignty
Takeovers
Topic
 
barbarism, colonisation, International law, terra nullius
Terra Nullius & Australia
Topic
 
crown land, dispossession, doctrine of tenure, First Fleet, land rights, resistance, terra nullius
Terra Nullius Defined
Topic
 
terra nullius
Colonisation
Topic
 
colonisation, High Court of Australia, Mabo judgement, terra nullius