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Canadian Native Law Reporter. Volume 1997, Number 3 (1997), p. 1-18.


Aboriginal; Canada; indigenous; land; rights; title


In Wik Peoples v. Queensland, the High Court of Australia decided by a majority of four to three that the grant of pastoral leases by the Crown did not necessarily extinguish any Native title the Wik and Thayorre Peoples might have to the leased land. Given that approximately 42 percent of Australia is subject to pastoral leases, this decision is obviously of great importance. The issues raised in the case are also complex, involving the common law doctrines of tenures and estates, and the nature of Native title and of the interests created by pastoral leases. No attempt will be made in this short article to analyze or even explain all of these complexities. My modest goal is simply to summarize the positions taken in the four majority judgments on the issue of co-existence of Native title and pastoral leases, and to compare those positions with Canadian case law on the co-existence of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal interests in land.

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