Native title rights and interests as property rights hybridity

Presented by ANU College of Asia & the Pacific

In Australia we follow pre-colonial British notions of radical crown ownership of land and resources and post-Federation practice of Diceyan parliamentary sovereignty. But the Mabo High Court judgment of 1992 and subsequent Native Title Act 1993 with its reference to non-commercial native title rights and interests that can be legally determined generate conflicting regulatory regimes, one subject to western law, the other to customary law, the former politically dominant, the latter subordinate. Focusing on s211 of the NTA and on resources such as fresh water, wildlife and fisheries, this seminar demonstrates the incoherence of Australia’s regulatory regimes that still fail to recognise the significance of customary non-commercial rights bestowed by the law. This seminar uses the term hybridity rather than legal plurality in this presentation to complexify the inter-dependences and admixtures between customary and western property rights regimes in Australia today.

About the speaker

Jon Altman has a disciplinary background in economics and anthropology. Combining the two, he focuses much of his research on the articulations between Indigenous customary and western market economies in diverse circumstances. Jon is an Emeritus Professor of the ANU, based at the School of Regulation and Global Governance (RegNet).