Australian Northern Territory Aborigines finally secure Qoliqoli Rights in the Highest Courts of the Country.

As first higlighted by the FDN Team, the Australian High Court (equivalent to our supreme court) has recently ruled in favour of recognising Australian Aboriginal from the Northern Territory Claims to Qoliqoli Rights.

Yes people, the very same right that the SDL was trying to legalise as was initially promised to the Taukei by the British in the negotiation for cession in 1874 and by countless government broken promises for the next 130 years.

We are just claiming back our heritage and inherited property right. What is is wrong with that, and what is so wrong and racist with imposing a charge on those who make a commercial gain (as oppose to recreation and personal fishing etc. by the common citizen) out of the exploitation of our fishing grounds?

As Rev Lasaro thought out aloud on TV the other day, “sometimes I wonder why it is almost a crime being idigenou Fijian in this country?”.

Natasha Robinson and Patricia Karvelas | The Australian. July 31, 2008
ABORIGINAL land rights in the Northern Territory have been extended to the sea for the first time in a landmark High Court ruling that gives traditional owners in northeast Arnhem Land control over fishing in tidal waters.Yesterday’s ruling by a majority of the High Court’s full bench sweeps away the common law right to fish in the Territory’s inter-tidal zone and grants traditional owners the right to exclude fishermen and others from tidal waters within Blue Mud Bay in northeast Arnhem Land.

The ruling – which will apply to 80 per cent of the Territory’s inter-tidal waters – was welcomed by “overjoyed” Aboriginal leaders, who pledged to work co-operatively with fishing interests and the Territory Government to ensure recreational and commercial fishing could still take place in Aboriginal waters.

But the NT Government immediately announced its opposition to the introduction of a permit system for fishing in tidal waters, with Chief Minister Paul Henderson guaranteeing voters during the second week of an election campaign that permits would not be introduced.

His tough stance was in contrast to that of Aboriginal leaders, who pledged to negotiate in good faith with the Government and fishing interests.

“The country is for everybody, the sea and the land,” Yolngu leader Djambawa Marawilla said yesterday. “Fishermen, they are allowed to come to fish around in our country but through the permit and through the right communication.”

Kevin Rudd yesterday urged all parties to negotiate “flexible and sensible” arrangements for use of tidal waters. “We would urge all parties to show common sense,” the Prime Minister said.

Yesterday’s ruling upheld a decision by the full bench of the Federal Court early last year, which sparked outrage among the Territory’s fishing industry and the NT Government.

The ruling makes invalid those elements of the NT’s Fisheries Act that previously governed access to inter-tidal waters and licences for commercial fishers, finding that the NT’s Land Rights Act applied to waters between the shore and the high-tide mark.

“The asserted distinction between dry land and the land in the intertidal zone when covered by water should not be drawn,” said the majority judgment, which included Chief Justice Murray Gleeson, William Gummow, Michael Kirby, Susan Crennan and Kenneth Hayne. Judges Susan Kiefel and Dyson Heydon dissented.

In his judgment, Justice Kirby said Mr Rudd’s national apology in February to the Stolen Generations was relevant to his decision to rule in favour of Aboriginal control of Blue Mud Bay’s inter-tidal zone. “Given the attention to, and nationwide reflection upon, its making, terms and reconciliatory purposes, it is appropriate in my view for this court to take judicial notice of that national apology,” he said.

Commercial barramundi fisherman Darren Murray said the High Court decision had left him unsure of his future in the industry. “I was looking at buying a half-million-dollar licence, but I’m not going to do that now,” he said.

Traditional owners from the Larrakia nation in Darwin were pleased with the decision.

Robert Browne, a senior Larrakia man, said the High Court judgment would mean rangers such as Danny Raymond and Keith Sailor could do more to look after their traditional lands and sea. Mr Browne said he was disappointed by the NT Government’s opposition to a permit system. “Common sense should prevail,” he said.


16 Responses to “Australian Northern Territory Aborigines finally secure Qoliqoli Rights in the Highest Courts of the Country.”

  1. Mark Manning Says:

    Everything comes to he who waits and it’s great that Aboriginal or indigenous rights have been recognised , through the Courts . It’s a sign of maturing for the Australian Government and it’s people and more importantly , than Democracy and the rule of Law , coupled with the Constitution , work and work well when administered honestly and correctly . Let’s hope the I.G. and Fijians in general , can benefit from this too .

  2. egregious Says:

    Exactly MM, and thus for the Fijian indigenous interests to work through the law and by reference to the ruling in Australia, establish their rights over traditional fishing grounds.
    Problem is that as usual the Fijians blame others for their failure to do anything about this for 130 years as indicated in the opening remarks of SV
    Successive recent Governments have shown slothfulness in bringing in new legislation in many areas, content to sit back and have another bowl of grog in the Defence Club instead of moving things along. Look at the recent Telecoms Bill that has supposedly gone through at last in 2008. This replaces the utterly outdated 1970 Act. Its taken 38 years to recognise that people no longer send telegrams.

  3. FijiGirl Says:

    Fijians do not want to end up like the Hawaiians, indigenous Americans (North OR South) or have to tread the long-winding path that the Maori and Australian Aboriginals took to win back their indigenous rights.

    Congrats to the Aborigines. This is justice, but it is still justice delayed.

    For us in Fiji – The People and the Land Are One. Full speed.

    God bless Fiji

  4. Peace Pipe Says:

    All these indigenous rights restoration happening around the world are indicators and flags to prompt indigenous Fijian what their struggle should focus on since an all out assult is being mounted on indigenous rights right here in Fiji. This is where the charter’s philosophy of non racial Fiji will play a major role in defacing the Fijian rights as indigenous race and landlords. Do not let the propaganda which is cunningly being spread out to the people by the ig esp chod arse and other indo elements. The Fijians in the ig are all sold out and have sold their souls to the devil the snake. The so-called Fijian in the ig do not have Fijians at heart as they destroy the institution without remorse.

    Further proof to Chod’s lies about economic recovery is the announcement by the RBF that he economy actually contracted by 6.6% and not as previously stated at 4.4% as reported by the Sun today. So how could he tell us it is improving as the 1.7% growth forecast is a recovery based on the negative 6.6% and we haven’t completed the year yet to be sure of what it actually will be. And he grags about foreign reserves at over $800m. What good is money sitting somewhere when it cannot be used to boost the countrys economy. The trouble is chod wants to make a grand show that he has made savings. What good is savings when people are in need of it for their livelihood and struggling and starving while money is kept away uselessly somewhere.

  5. Mark Manning Says:

    I feel sorry : –
    for this family , as they might as well lodge a complaint with Bill and Ben the flower pot men !

    Fijians , whose rights are being destroyed day by day , by their own Military , their own relatives and fellow citizens !

  6. newsfiji Says:

    their is no doubt about the qoliqoli bill being enforced sooner rather than later.

    the interim pm thinks just because he and some of his fellow drinking buddies from the QEB officer’s mess don’t like it that it will go away for good.

    very sori, coz it ain’t going anywhere. the young generation fijians are not idiots and will fight tooth and nail to have it legal. oh, and the Tui Lau – whoever he or she is going to be will have to relinquish his or her rights over ownership of all Lau waters! Whituwiu! How exciting!

    to all our beobles out there – it’s just a matter of time! this is only a delay – but it WILL HAPPEN!

  7. Budhau Says:

    That Australian court was only talking about the inter tidal zone – we ain’t talking about that, we should go out all they way – as far out in the ocean as possible – who care if traditionally, the Fijians never went out fishing way out there.

    Good luck with the bill – that way them chiefs can sell more fishing licenses – making money the old fashion way.

    While we are at it,, how about the mineral rights – and those Indians, they have been stealing our sunshine for too long also.

  8. newsfiji Says:

    Budhau, what’s wrong with us wanting our rights protected..if that’s the way you see it, well then too bad – go and do that in your country..


  9. IslandBoy Says:

    Do you all recall a virulent Australian based blogger going on and on about this subject – saying the land belongs to the people and the oceans belong to everyone, even when many of us pointed out the international clauses in the Law of the Sea and the UN Declaration of Indegenous Rights.

    I think it was a lady and she kept on harping about the late Turaga Tui Nayau claiming close family ties ad nauseum etc, her main argument seemed to be if Ratu Mara did not touch the issue no one else should, and that Qarase being of a lower rank should take his cue from the Mara led government position.

    Well what have you got to say now? Seems like you were a long way off the mark lady!

  10. golden sands Says:

    Island Boy if you type in these titles in the search block above the directory on the main page it will take you to the qoliqoli debates:

    ‘WHAT NOW YABAKI’ this one has the post you mentioned



    I have noticed that there are some people who post here that are right on the money – bloggers like you Island Boy, Adi Kaila, Tui Savu, Natewa Prince, Dauvanavana, Aways4Fiji, Jese Waqalekaleka, GroggyMaster and Tuks to name a few. I feel you are the main ones who post the most important issues and truths about them on this site and debate them powerfully with the dissenters.

    Congratulations to all of you. This site keeps a lot of us up to date and allows us to understand a lot more of what has happened and is currently happening behind the scenes.

    Don’t let the likes of Budhau and his ilk stop you telling the truth, it’s obvious these bloggers haven’t a clue about the real situation in Fiji or much more and are the most racist so and sos blogging from overseas. There is no logic in anything they write. It’s a source of great amusement that they copy and paste, from other posts with their inarticulate views added on that only reveals how really shallow and imbecilic they are.

    I have the distinct feeling that they like to read their illogical posts over and over to make themselves feel superior. What pitiful so and sos. If only they could understand the gist of the posts in the first place.

  11. Navosavakadua Says:


    The Northern Territory case recognized inter tidal zone rights because that is what the indigenous people themselves recognized. In Fiji, the Qoliqoli rights that Fijians have long fought to have recognized went beyond the inter tidal zones, where they DID fish,
    contrary to anything you might think you know. The issue is recognition of traditional rights, not the specific content of those rights.

    Tell us clearly, Budhau, are you against recognizing the legal rights of indigenous people in Australia? If so, I recommend walking down your inner suburban streets with a sign proclaiming this message.

  12. Wailei Says:

    Everyone, look forward to the FHL Annual General Meeting!!!!!!!

  13. kemu Says:

    POTE vei Budi…vosataka ga na ka on kila boidada!

  14. newsfiji Says:

    Wailei: That AGM of FHL should be very interesting! Dou bloody throw that woman out – Sereana Qoro!

  15. Wailei Says:

    @newsFiji apparently we cant as the government has majority shares… however, there is another tactic that will come up. so stay tuned…

  16. Jose Says:

    IslandBoy @

    August 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm
    That was Taukei aka Tomasi the Shri and the mana as in manasa or kuka

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