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...Australia was the anomalous one...
'The High Court could have said this is about Murray Island, they could have quarantined it to the Torres Strait. The critical thing is they said, "No it applies to the whole of Australia, let's establish the basic principles." The High Court didn't create native title in 1992, the High Court said native title has always been there, it's just that Australian law didn't recognise it before 3rd June 1992. To a person confronting it, it must have seemed a very radical thing for the High Court to do. But it was radical because the Australian situation was radical. They simply have joined the British Empire common law tradition. It's been there for a long time. And similar laws have existed in Spanish and Portuguese colonial empires. Australia was the anomalous one. It came as a shock to Australians because they had not been aware of just how out of step Australia was.'
Keywords: Common Law, Common Law, High Court of Australia, Mabo judgement, native title, Reynolds, Henry (Prof.), 1992

Interviewed by Trevor Graham, 1996.
© Film Australia
Source: Reynolds, Henry