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Type: Thesis
Title: The administration of justice in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) lands: a front line in tensions between traditional aboriginal culture and the criminal law
Author: Whellum, Peter Gilbert
Issue Date: 2018
School/Discipline: Adelaide Law School
Abstract: The administration of justice in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) Lands, particularly issues related to policing practices, the conduct and operation of the APY Court circuit, and the legal representation provided to APY people (Anangu), has received little academic attention. This thesis outlines the socio-demographics of this remote South Australian region where semi-traditional Anangu lifestyles are still governed by Tjukurpa (Anangu Dreaming). Issues related to the tensions existing between traditional Aboriginal culture and the South Australian criminal law are identified and critically examined through the lenses of Indigenous sovereignty and legal pluralism. The identified issues have revealed themselves through a combination of prior personal experience, literature reviews, surveys conducted with members of the judiciary and lawyers who have had recent experience in the APY Court circuit; and importantly, personal interviews with Anangu living within the region. Although the number of interviewees is modest and thus only of qualitative value, they nevertheless offer valuable personal and social insight into how justice is administered in the APY Lands. An overarching theme of this research is that recognition and acknowledgement of Anangu culture and language are consistent with a degree of Indigenous self-determination. While official government policies recognise the importance of Aboriginal culture and language, the research reveals a failure to implement practices consistent with them. The present justice system in the APY Lands largely ignores restorative justice despite it being a hallmark of Anangu culture. There has been little or no consultation between criminal justice agencies and Anangu, particularly regarding policing practices and the layout and conduct of APY Courts. This has culminated in a lack of community understanding or acceptance of the criminal justice system, first implemented in 1836 when South Australia was settled. The thesis concludes with a range of evidence-based recommendations for change to the practices of policing and the administration of justice that are oriented towards greater cultural awareness, and an appreciation of the importance of Anangu sovereignty.
Advisor: Reilly, Alexander
Nettelbeck, Amanda
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Adelaide, Adelaide Law School, 2018
Keywords: APY Lands
Aboriginal traditional law
criminal law
legal pluralism
Provenance: This electronic version is made publicly available by the University of Adelaide in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material you wish to be removed from this electronic version, please complete the take down form located at:
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