Apologies and the Legacy of an Unlawful Application of Terra Nullius in Terra Australis

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Stephen Pitt-Walker


The use of the legal fiction, terra nullius, as it was erroneously applied to Terra Australis, Australia, as a legal doctrine, supported the British colonial power’s right to settle that territory. Since then, many unspoken (as well as acknowledged) acts of structural and direct violence have been perpetrated against the First Nations population in Australia via the imposition, and later ‘reception’, of the legal system and laws of England, as well as the dominant socio-political system, that represented the British Crown.

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