Monthly Archives: May 2023

The Republic and the Aboriginal ‘Voice’

In this episode of The Customary Land Podcast I explore how becoming a Republic and crafting a new Constitution fit for purpose in the 2020s offers Australia the perfect opportunity to truly recognise the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ‘Voice’.

An Australian Republic means we need to replace the Crown and the Crown’s superior interest in the land with something.  If that ‘something’ is an acknowledgement of the guardianship of the land through Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander stewardship, would this, could this, or should this affect the underlying way that we as 21st century citizens in Australia relate to real property?

The current discussions about holding a referendum in Australia to make changes to the archaic 1901 Constitution (an Anglo-centric model crafted during the Empire of Queen Victoria) to create an Aboriginal Voice fails to deal with the significant issue that we are perpetuating King Charles III as ‘King of Australia’. Imagine instead , if you will, what might change in terms of our identity as citizens if Australia were to become a Republic – something that many see as inevitable, albeit a situation which is yet to become a reality.

In this episode I draw heavily on my paper A 21st Century Citizen in a Brave New Republic.

I also reference Stan Grant’s ‘Australia Day‘ and ‘The Queen is Dead’.

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Traditional Customary ways versus Western materialism

This episode of of The Customary Land Podcast explores worldviews constitute the ‘Plurality of Registers‘ and the tension of navigating between customary and traditional relations to land as ‘ours’ versus the western materialism of possessive individualism that sees land as ‘mine’.

In part, this episode is triggered by the anachronism of a coronation in 2023, particularly when former empire and commonwealth is viewed from the  plundered and brutalised indigenous perspective. The associated myth, embeddedness and tradition leads me to reflect on our recent proposal for a CLS team to review the role in Fiji of a contemporary Great Council of Chiefs to lead iTaukei society.  These two events provide a segue to look at the customary counterpoint of the Melanesian Indigenous Land Defence Alliance (MILDA) from the perspective of Joel Simo (Symoh Joel) in a talk he gave at a meeting of AID/Watch in Sydney (14 November 2014 – the transcript is on pp.11-14 of this paper).  As outlined in their Declarations, MILDA are against and form of land registration or leasing of customary land.  This is a view that is reinforced by Act Now in PNG (see their 90 second very powerful video on ‘The Real Value of Customary Land‘). I also refer to the Declaration and Resolutions of the 2002 South Pacific Land Tenure Conflict Symposium.

You can access all of The Customary Land Podcast episodes using this link or listen in your favourite podcast player. For those of you who prefer to watch a video version, it is provided here.

The Valuation of Unregistered Land

Traditional valuation approaches are increasingly recognised as being insufficient to address the wicked valuation problems of the diverse peoples and groups that inhabit the globe from north, south, east to west. In the latest episode of The Customary Land Podcast I sit down for a far-reaching conversation about the valuation of unregistered land with Mike McDermott PhD MA FAPI FRSA.  Mike is an International Land Policy and Valuation Implementation Consultant who is also the author of Wicked Valuations and Landed Property.  He has advised a diversity of governments, development agencies, donors and professional organisations.

We discuss land policy, land reform, customary land, peri-urban developments, fitness landscapes, compulsory acquisition,  due diligence, market value, solatium and the principle of equivalence.  We explore the importance of the the personal, cultural values and norms which underpin our assessment of “value”, and how to incorporate these in the valuation of unregistered land. Mike’s innovative  approach to Wicked Valuations develops a means of engaging with highly complex valuation problems.

You can access all of The Customary Land Podcast episodes using this link or listen in your favourite podcast player. For those of you who prefer to watch a video version, it is provided here.