...Challenges - Sovereignty and ownership distinguished...
The plaintiffs' statement of claim made no challenge to the validity of British sovereignty over Australia. Nor did it challenge the validity of Queensland's annexation of the Murray Islands in 1879. On the contrary, the plaintiffs accepted that as a result of this annexation the Murray Islands became subject to the laws of Queensland. The plaintiffs also accepted that annexation delivered to Queensland the underlying (or 'radical') title to the Islands.
However, the plaintiffs draw a sharp distinction between title to the Islands and ownership of the Islands and maintained that Queensland's annexation had not extinguished their pre-existing native title rights. The plaintiffs conceded that native title could be extinguished, but only if there was a clear intention to do so and if authorised by specific laws conferring the power of extinguishment.
Keywords: extinguishment, Murray Island, plaintiffs, Queensland, sovereignty, 1992
Author: Kenna, Jonathan