Protecting the Spiritual Beliefs of Indigenous Peoples: Australian Case Studies

38 Pages Posted: 27 May 2013

See all articles by Michael Blakeney

Michael Blakeney

The University of Western Australia Law School

Date Written: May 24, 2013

Abstract

This article examines the extent to which the spiritual beliefs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are protected under current Australian law. The first significant recognition by the High Court of Australia of the legal rights of indigenous peoples was in relation to native title over real property. As those peoples define their status and society by reference to their relationship with the land, this article considers the ultimately unsuccessful attempt to protect their spiritual beliefs as an incident of native title law. It reviews a line of intellectual property cases which have been a more fruitful source of protection, as well as the possibilities of the protection of the spiritual beliefs of indigenous peoples under racial vilification laws. With changes to the Australian Constitution to recognize the particular rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples currently under consideration, the article concludes with the speculation that specific Federal legislation could achieve the protection of their spiritual beliefs.

Keywords: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, spiritual beliefs, intellectual property, racial vilification, Australian constitutional law

Suggested Citation

Blakeney, Michael, Protecting the Spiritual Beliefs of Indigenous Peoples: Australian Case Studies (May 24, 2013). Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, Vol. 22, No. 2, 2013, UWA Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 2013-13, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2269630 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2269630

Michael Blakeney (Contact Author)

The University of Western Australia Law School ( email )

M253
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley, Western Australia 6009
Australia

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