News: Court takes on new native title case

The High Court has spent this week in Brisbane, hearing the constitutional challenge by Hells Angels member Stefan Kuczborkski to various Queensland laws targeting ‘bikie gangs’ and an employment law appeal concerning a man who was dismissed after he held a sign attacking ‘scabs’ during industrial action concerning a coal mine. As well, the Court heard six applications for special leave to appeal from Queensland matters and granted leave in one of them. InĀ Congoo on behalf of the Bar-Barrum People #4 v State of Queensland [2014] FCAFC 9, a majority of the Full Court held that native title was not extinguished by the federal government’s exercise of wartime powers to use land near Cairns as an artillery and live fire manoeuvre range to train infantry for deployment to the Pacific during World War Two. Even if Queensland succeeds in reversing that ruling, further issues that may arise include whether the events breached the constitutional requirement for just terms for federal acquisitions of property and the application of the Native Title Act 1993‘s regime for ‘past acts‘.

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About Jeremy Gans

Jeremy Gans is a Professor in Melbourne Law School, where he researches and teaches across all aspects of the criminal justice system. He holds higher degrees in both law and criminology. In 2007, he was appointed as the Human Rights Adviser to the Victorian Parliament's Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee.