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Indigenous leader hits out at High Court

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 10 October 2003


Indigenous leader Noel Pearson has attacked the High Court, claiming it has failed to correctly to interpret native title in several recent cases.

Mr Pearson told the High Court centenary conference in Canberra there is also an urgent need to change the Native Title Act.

He says the judges have interpreted the act in cases such as Yorta Yorta rather than adopt the common law definition of native title.

Mr Pearson says the potential for reconciliation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous rights in the Mabo decision could be lost.

"What we're in danger of here, 10 years later, is a complete unravelling of that promise, a complete unravelling of that opportunity," Mr Pearson said.

"This country will rue the day when we reflect backwards and say 'we had an opportunity to settle the Aboriginal land question but we blew it'."


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