MES&L Q&A

Are Mirning People claiming this country just for themselves?

That will be discussed at the meeting. What will be suggested at the meeting is a “non-exclusive claim”.  That means that, if there are other Aboriginal people who can show that, under their (non-Mirning) traditional laws and customs they have rights and interests in the claim area, that can also be recognised as native title.

Would I be going against the FWC Sea Claim or the Wirangu Claims if I signed the acknowledgement form?

Not necessarily. 

The acknowledgement form simply sets out that you acknowledge that the Mirning People (as defined) have native title in the proposed claim area.  It says nothing about whether you acknowledge or believe that any other people have native title (or any other rights or interests) in the claim area.

I am a member of the FWCAC.  Would signing the acknowledgment form breach the Rule Book?

No. 

Members responsibilities are set out in rule 8.4 (see http://www.fwcac.org.au/member-information/).  There is nothing preventing Mirning People who are FWCAC members from signing the acknowledgment form.

Why do I have to sign the acknowledgment form to participate in the meeting?

Section 61 allows native title applications to be made by a person authorised by all the persons who, according to their traditional laws and customs, hold the common or group rights and interests comprising the particular native title claimed.

If you dispute that Mirning traditional laws and customs produce rights and interest in the claim area, then you are not a person who can authorise this claim.  You are not part of the claim group.  You will not be able to participate in the meeting and you will be refused entry unless you are a carer for a person who is entitled to enter.

If the claim is authorised, you will have an opportunity to join as a respondent to oppose the claim.  You will need to make your own enquiries about this.

The acknowledgement form is also an important part of record-keeping for the meeting.  It shows why the people who participated were entitled to participate.

Will the authorisation meeting be recorded?

Yes, but only for legal purposes.  All audio and/or video recordings will be kept confidential unless some legal challenge is made and those recordings would be relevant to that challenge.

Was Bingi a Wirangu man?

The description of the Wirangu claim group does not include Bingi as an apical ancestor.

Daisy Bates recorded Bingi in the Yuria Vocabulary.  The language used in Bates’ records when discussing Bingi is Mirning language. Bates’ vocabulary record states that “Wirongu W. from Wiljina”, is separate from the “Yulbari nunga (coast people).”  Bingi is therefore recorded by Bates as ‘Yulbari’ (i.e. Mirning) not ‘Wirongu’ (i.e. Wirangu).

The Mirning Elders know Bingi was a Mirning man.