Tuesday , 10, November 2015 2 Comments


CASE : North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency Limited v Northern Territory [2015] HCA 41 11 November 2015 M45/2015.

In 2014 police in the Northern Territory (‘NT’) were given new powers to detain people arrested for a minor offence for up to four hours, or longer if intoxicated.

The North Australia Aboriginal Justice Agency (‘NAAJA’) challenged these laws because of the disproportionate impact of the new powers on Indigenous people.

The second plaintiff, Ms Bowden, is an Aboriginal woman who was arrested and detained under the PA Act for almost 12 hours. At the hearing in September 2015, the plaintiffs argued that detention following arrest under the PA Act infringes the separation of powers doctrine that they say applies to laws of the NT Legislative Assembly. Alternatively, they said that such detention offends the Kable principle by undermining the integrity of the NT courts.

HELD : Today the High Court, by majority, dismissed an application for a declaration that Div 4AA of Pt VII of the Police Administration Act (NT) (“the Act”) is invalid.

A majority of the Court held that, upon the proper construction of Div 4AA, the powers it confers on members of the Police Force are not penal or punitive in character and do not impair, undermine or detract from the institutional integrity of the Northern Territory courts. Div 4AA, properly construed, does not authorise members of the Police Force to detain a person for longer than is reasonably practicable for them to make a determination about which one of the options under s 133AB(3) is to be exercised. The Court ordered that the matter be referred to a single Justice for further directions.

Summary of Judgment

Full Case 

Legal Argument Explained



  • Mass Incarceration: The Most Important Political Issue of 2016 No One Wants to Talk About
    The mushrooming prison population is a political ticking time bomb.
    Too much emphasis is on the punitive approach rather than erasing negative tapes from the
    discriminating laws that blighted our Colonizing history.Why copy the other nations that now
    regret the cost of escalating prison numbers!1

  • Canadian Aboriginal Judge headed the truth and reconciliation process He stated He was succeeding in another man’s culture.
    “As an Aboriginal student it denied to me any sense of pride about the role of my ancestors in the history of this part of the world. For my non-Aboriginal classmates, it taught them that we were wild and savage and uncivilized, and that given the conditions of Aboriginal people in modern society, we had not advanced very far from that state.
    “My education lacked relevance for me, and this was so despite my success at it. But that success came at a price. It taught me and others that my people were irrelevant.
    “By implication, it caused me to feel that I was too. It taught us to believe in the inferiority of Aboriginal people and in the inherent superiority of white European civilization, and in order to get the grades that I did, I was compelled to repeat that unconscious mantra.”
    DICWG FNQ see cultural truth is a necessary part of reconciliation that over policing overlooks to our shame

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