This is an NFSA Digital Learning resource. See all Digital Learning websites.
Mabo home
Indigenous sovereignty in Australia
Indigenous peoples in Australia make a slightly different assertion of sovereignty, as a distinct part of Australian society by virtue of their status as first peoples. Indigenous peoples may operate their own systems of law and custom, which are deserving of respect from other legal systems. Indigenous peoples also have their own internal legitimacy in the exercise of authority. This expression of self-determination asserts a right to govern themselves. In addition, it is argued that only through the exercise of self-determination, that is, for Indigenous peoples to determine for themselves how they want to be governed and what relationships they will have with other groups, can the fundamental rights of those people be fully respected and enjoyed.

Keywords: aboriginal law, self determination, sovereignty

Author: Strelein, Lisa