Pondering the Muckaty Case – Part 1 – Commonwealth’s Scheme

Given the long history of how First Peoples have been mistreated by the modern Australian State – atomic bomb testing in the living countries of First Peoples being but one example – it is vitally important that members of the wider public follow what is being done in the Commonwealth government’s attempt to locate a radioactive waste facility in the midst of First Peoples’ living country at Muckaty, in the Northern Territory.

In pondering some aspects of the present Federal Court proceedings, my efforts are aimed are raising some issues for the attention of others, and hopefully others who have a better working knowledge of some of these matters than I have.

It is on that basis I make my ponderings available for others to read, critique, correct, improve or whatever.

In this first part I turn my attention – briefly – to the Commonwealth’s legislative scheme which governs the rights of First Peoples to articulate a ‘wrong’ they consider suffered by them by the nomination of a site on the Muckaty Land Trust land for a radioactive waste facility.

The key question is “To what extent, if any, does the passing of the National Radioactive Waste Management Act 2012 in April of this year change one of the key planks in the case of the Commonwealth as outlined in their March 2012 submission to the Federal Court?”

In a second and third part of my ponderings I will look – briefly – at the issues of anthropological and cross-cultural research materials in this case, and the role played by ‘1930s’ modern anthropology in defining statutory ‘traditional owners’ in the 21st century.

For rest of text see google doc:


Bruce Reyburn
July 2012