Aboriginality under the microscope: The biological descent test in Australian law

de Plevitz, Loretta R. & Croft, Larry (2003) Aboriginality under the microscope: The biological descent test in Australian law. QUT Law and Justice Journal, 3(1), pp. 104-120.


In order to access statutory rights and privileges designed for the exclusive benefit of Indigenous people, Aboriginal people must prove their Aboriginal descent. Descent is judicially interpreted to mean genetic difference. Analyses of the human genome demonstrate that all humans are closely related and that race as a single definable genetic characteristic does not exist. Australian Aboriginal populations are among the most ancient and genetically diverse in the world, therefore there is no way of identifying a distinctly Aboriginal genotype. This paper argues that the present legal test is both unprovable and infringes international human rights.

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ID Code: 8765
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional Information: The contents of this journal can be freely accessed online via the journal's web page (see hypertext link).
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Aboriginal or Indigenous descent, genetic inheritance, statutory benefits
ISSN: 1445-6230
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Law (180101)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > GENETICS (060400) > Population Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics (060411)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2003 Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 24 Jul 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:02

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