Essay on Customary Law and the Status of Indigenous Australian's

Essay on Customary Law and the Status of Indigenous Australian's

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It is important to always show respect towards the indigenous, acknowledge their laws, their practices and their customs further paying respects to the original custodians of the land. This however does not mean that recognition of aboriginal customary law is essential to improving the status (social position) of indigenous Australians; on the contrary it poses more problems than solutions. Although law is seen as the fabric of existence and intrinsic to living, it is impossible to judge one legal system in terms of another. As such, while there are many positive aspects of aboriginal customary law, which is merely just different and in no means (worse) or (better) than English common law, its enforcement is not essential to improving the status of indigenous Australian’s in society. Many other legal and non-legal remedies have sought and provided better support and status for the indigenous community.
Aboriginal customary law emphasises harmony, entwines the land and the people and ensures surviving. It looks towards the needs of the tribe much like the common law looks towards the needs of society and uses that as the basis for its decisions. However unlike common law, aboriginal customary law is unwritten, unchanging and can vary between the many different indigenous tribes – “there are over 500 indigenous nations in Australia with different cultures, languages and needs”. Consequently, due to the wide spread vast amount of indigenous nations, it would be merely impossible to add just one set of aboriginal customary laws and that one set would have to remain unchanged leaving no room for reform in order to aid the community when scrutiny over the matter occurs. The customary law is also unrecorded and would become diff...


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... other legislation and institutions have successfully improved the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian’s promoting change, harmony and providing support. The Australian government aim to improve social inadequacies and although the results at times may be limited are ultimately improving Non indigenous and Indigenous Australian’s relations as well as improving the social position of Indigenous Australian’s. Thus recognition of customary law is not essential to improving the status of indigenous Australians and the proposal itself provides the possibility of negative outcomes which could perhaps worsen their status and lead to a decline in their social position.




Works Cited

Michael Sanson et al, Connecting with the law (Oxford University Press, 2d ed, 2010)
Catriona Cook et al, Laying down the law (LexisNexis Butterworth’s, 2012) 79.

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