A workshop concerning interpretations of Section 223 was held on 5-6 March 2009 at the University of Melbourne. The workshop was sponsored jointly by the NTRU, ATNS, Rio Tinto, and the Australian Government.
The workshop examined the direction in which the courts have taken native title, with the goal of a non-discriminatory native title jurisprudence. The workshop focused on the difficulties of s223 and the approach of the courts in Bennell. The possibilities offered by legislative change were examined as well as a number of other options. For the purposes of comparison, the development of aboriginal title in other common law countries was considered, specifically, Canada and South Africa.
The draft titles of papers delivered at the workshop were:
- Pearson, N, ‘A brief overview of the ‘problem’ and ‘Land is Susceptible of Ownership’ in Honour Among Nations.’
- Hughston, V, ‘An overview of the Bennell decision and the application of the Yorta Yorta case.’
- Young, S, ‘The meaning given to ‘tradition’ and ‘traditional’ in the context of s223: the problems associated with this interpretation; alternative interpretations.’
- Yarrow, D, ‘A discussion of why a ‘society’ is needed, how it is to be found and the attributes it must exhibit.’
- Hughston, V, ‘Meaning of ‘have a connection with land’ in s223;interpretation in the cases; issues in the application.’
- Godden, L and Dorsett, S, ‘The philosophical basis of the ‘normative system’ view in Yorta Yorta’
- North, A, ‘Amending S223.’
- McNeil, K, ‘Common law aboriginal title: comparative models – Canada.’