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Compare And Contrast Nozick And Rawls Approaches To The Issue Of Indigenous Australians Land Rights

4314 words - 17 pages

Compare and contrast Rawls' and Nozicks' approaches to social justice with respect to the issues facing indigenous Australians.To what extent in theory and in practice has social justice been achieved by the Australian governments Native Title Claim 1992 legislation?Recognition of aboriginal land rightsUltimately social justice would have been better achieved if Nozicks' framework had been closer followed with minimal state interference- unlike in practice with the lack of effectiveness of Native Title, 10 Point PlanI imagine that with Nozick you are arguing that if Now Rawls' difference principle would seem to be something else entirely - looking at distribution of what we have - not rectification. You might say that given Indigenous people's situation, this type of redistribution is required (with Rawls) BUT this was not the principle motivating Native Title claims. Perhaps it would help to separate out these three types of claims and see how the first can be grounded in Nozick, the second in RawlsINTROPolitical theorists have begun to re-examine claims by indigenous peoples to lands which were expropriated in the course of sixteenth eighteenth century European expansionism. In Australia, these issues have captured public attention as they emerged in two central High Court cases: Mabo (1992) and Wik (1996), which recognize pre-existing common law rights of native title held by indigenous people prior to European contact and, in some cases, continue to be held to the present day.The theoretical significance of the two Australian cases is examined and the links drawn out between the current debate about Aboriginal land rights in Australia and the wider philosophical debate about indigenous land rights, property rights, and indigenous justice as characterized by Jeremy Waldron and James Tully. Justice towards indigenous groups requires substantial acknowledgement and recognition of the values and institutions of the relevant indigenous group; yet, these values and institutions may not readily fall under the framework of existing state structures.Attempts to redress injustice towards indigenous groups which do not question the justice of existing state institutions will therefore prove to be inadequate responses to indigenous peoples' demands for substantive justice.It is understandable that those people who support the campaign for Aboriginal land rights are especially concerned with undoing and making compensation for what they regard as a gross injustice: the dispossession of Aborigines from the land that they owned. The debate about ownership raises some familiar and difficult legal and philosophical questions about the basis for rights of property, what these rights entail and what, if anything, is due to the descendants of those who have been wrongly dispossessed.NOZICKRobert Nozicks' basic moral premise follows the idea of Immanuel Kant in that individuals should be treated as ends in themselves, not as means to ends. Thus his conception of...

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