Poetic justice in Jangga determination

It is probably quite rare that writing a judgment affords an opportunity for a Federal Court judge to read the works of an Australian poet.

However, this was part of the preparation undertaken by Justice Steven Rares for delivering his judgment and ordering a consent determination in the matter of McLennan on behalf of the Jangga People v State of Queensland & Ors [2012] FCA 1082 on 9 October 2012.

Works by Judith Wright about her family’s history included her grandfather’s experiences with the Jangga People in the late 1860s. This is just one example of the records which go to demonstrate the Jangga People’s connection to the area the subject of the determination.

Lodged in 1998, the prosecution of the claim was not without difficulty; in 2009 and 2010, it appeared the matter would be dismissed. However, as a result of positive input by the State and much cooperation between the parties, an effective strategy for the progress of the matter was formulated.

This culminated in the parties agreeing to recognise both exclusive and non-exclusive native title rights and interests over an area of 20,350 square kilometres west of Mackay.

In the judgment, Justice Rares commented on the State’s “careful preparation and examination of the evidence” on which the consent determination orders were sought and noted that it was “apparent that a great deal of fruitful work” had been conducted and that “all of the parties may take pride in having been able to achieve a very complex but clearly mutually satisfactory result”.

The determination secures the rights of the Jangga People to use and enjoy their traditional lands into the future.

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Published: 15 February 2013

Author: Sarah Svensson