Australian politics

Feb 6, 2014

Djambuy’s case and the recognition of Aboriginal customary law

"This is the first time in a long time that Balanda (European) and Yolngu laws have worked together like this. Yolngu are not asking for a separate system. This is about creating a dialogue between the two systems."

Bob Gosford — Likes birds and people, not necessarily in that order.

Bob Gosford

Likes birds and people, not necessarily in that order.

Aboriginal customary law has been the subject of extraordinary efforts by Northern Territory and Federal politicians to exclude it from consideration in the (European) administration of criminal justice.

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4 thoughts on “Djambuy’s case and the recognition of Aboriginal customary law

  1. Bella Munro

    I know this is years old, but I’d be interested in your views on George Pacoe Gaymarani’s treatise on customary law (particularly the use of women being “required to participate in sexual activities” as punishment for witnessing a secret male ceremony).

  2. Andybob

    Presumably spearing an offender in the leg would still be a crime. Banishment to a ‘special Yolngu prison’ sounds like false imprisonment.

    If a person was maltreated in the special Yolngu prison would they have a claim against the NT government ?

  3. desert_mob

    An important moment in this country. I am sure it won’t be lost in law, but other aspects of society should pay heed. This is significant.

  4. Hector Lung

    The fact that this sentence was not appealed demonstrates the non-Aborignal authorities had a stomach for this outcome which is most promising. One wonders what would have happened if the tabloids had have sensationalised this case but now, hopefully, people can see the wisdom of, wherever possible, tailoring sentences that actually reverberate with the offender. Dr Gondarra and his people have spent many years constructing a mutually respectful relationship with the NT legal system and hopefully this relationship can bear more fruit. The next step might be an exploration of whether Aborignal people of other regions see value in this type of engagement. At a time when the massively expensive balanda correctional system is under scrutiny, opportunity knocks.

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