Relationship Between Aboriginal Law And State And Commonwealth Law.

900 words - 4 pages

Specific question: Analyze and discuss the nature of contemporary Aboriginal law and its relationship to state and commonwealth law. What changes, if any, should be made to this relationship?This essay will answer the specific question by first explaining Aboriginal and Australian law, show the relationship between the two, give examples of cases where the relationship between the two is shown and state, if any, changes should be made.Before talking about the relationship between Aboriginal law and state and commonwealth law there needs to be an understanding of what the two are and how they work. Aboriginal law originates from a long time ago. It's based on the Dreamtime. Even though there are many different tribes and clans, they are all based on the Dreamtime and therefore are similar. Aboriginal law consisted of two different kinds of law; sacred law and secular law. These can also be called religious and non-religious law. Their laws were spiritually based and were based on: unwritten rules, kinship ties and relationships with the law, ritual traditions, sacred and secular laws and clan consensus.Australian 'western' law consists of state law and commonwealth law. State law, is the law of each different state and the commonwealth law rules over the whole country. The state law can't contrast with the commonwealth law because the commonwealth law always takes precedence.The relationship between Aboriginal law and Australian law has changed a lot over time. Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander customary law, wasn't recognized in Australia in 1788 because of terra nullius. From the text book Heinemann Legal studies this quote is taken: 'The Australian Law Reform Commission, in its 1986 report, 'The Recognition of Aboriginal Customary Law', states that the recognition of customary law may have a number of benefits.' Indigenous Australians would be allowed to manage their own affairs and thereby develop self-respect and restore the 'natural' order to traditional communities. Also, there now is such thing as the Aboriginal Legal Services (ALS), which is funded by the government. The money comes through the department of Aboriginal Affairs. The majority of the Aboriginal Legal Services' work is in the area of criminal charges, particularly for minor offences. When an Aborigine breaks the law and it gets to court, he or she may be sentenced with a punishment by a traditional Aboriginal tribe. And example of the application of native title legislation is that of a man called Yanner v Eaton. In 1994, he used a traditional form of harpoon to catch two crocodiles from the Gulf of Carpentaria are of Queensland. Him and some members of his clan ate some of the crocodiles and saved the rest of the meat and skins at his home. Yanner was charged with breaking the Fauna...

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