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Call for tribal law recognition

Extract from Australian Broadcasting Corporation - ABC Online, on 14 October 2003


The Aboriginal Legal Service (ALS) in Western Australia says the rest of Australia should accept that tribal pay-back is a part of Indigenous culture and happens daily across the nation.

The comment comes after the arrest of a 26-year-old man from the remote south-east West Australian community of Blackstone, charged with the wilful murder of his 22-year-old defacto wife.

Police say when officers arrived at the community last Thursday the man had been speared in the leg as a payback after locals found the body of his defacto wife in bushes.

They say officers granted his request to see his family before heading off to the Laverton lock-up, but he was speared again while he was in custody.

ALS chief executive Dennis Eggington says spearing the man in front of police is not the issue.

"These types of cultural practices are happening daily and Australia has to catch up with the fact that Aboriginal people are very proud and will maintain our culture and our cultural practices," Mr Eggington said.

Investigations into the matter continue.


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