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Synopsis

'This book debunks in spectacular fashion some of the most treasured, over-inflated claims of the benefits of native title.'

Professor Mick Dodson, ANU Centre for Indigenous Studies

'David Ritter's fascinating account of the evolution of the native title system is elegant and incisive, scholarly and sceptical; above all, unfailingly intelligent.'

Professor Robert Manne, La Trobe University

'An unsentimental, richly informed account of a fascinating period in the history of Australia's relationships with its indigenous people.'

From the Foreword by Chief Justice Robert French

After the historic Mabo judgement in 1992, Aboriginal communities had high hopes of obtaining land rights around Australia. What followed is a dramatic story of hard-fought contests over land, resources, money and power, yielding many frustrations and mixed outcomes.

Based on extensive research, enriched by intimate experience as a lawyer and negotiator, David Ritter offers both an insider's perspective and a cool-headed and broad-ranging account of the native title system. In lucid prose Ritter examines the contributions of the players that contested and adjudicated native title: Aboriginal leaders and their communities, multinational resource companies, pastoralists, courts and tribunals, politicians and bureaucrats. His account lays bare the conflicts, compromises and conceits beneath the surface of the native title process.

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