Kangaroo Court was coined in America in 1853 with the concept that in a court of law, legal proceedings and jurisprudence are ‘jumped over’ to arrive at a decision to ratify a case without proper deliberation or legal process.
This artwork respects the law and its intended purpose in civil society, but it aims to question the integrity of institutional protectionism that exists and the assumption that there is a separation of powers in Australian sovereignty is a legal misdirection.
The state has become such an individual that it needs protection through devious means and devices against the very people from whom its existence comes from and gives it its powers and legal right to exist. This artwork questions or highlights parliamentary privilege and sovereignty over the High Court decision on Mabo and Others vs. Queensland, and asks: were the plaintiffs awarded their just compensation – a common land title? Instead the legislature, under the guise of parliamentary sovereignty, kicked in to jump ahead to inhibit any further litigation by creating a Native Title Act that brings traditional native title lands back under its control.
Since the initial case took place, individuals’ ligation for their own land was brushed aside for protection of a legal fiction. The Court jumped over awarding individual plaintiffs their claim, even after it was proven in a court of law that Mabo and Other had land rights and ownership over their lands. This artwork then questions: has a miscarriage of justice to individuals who took the state to court in and under a democratic country and with empirical evidences prove without a doubt that customary law, from whom written constitution derived its provision and precepts from, was not ceded upon colonization, settlement and annexation?
The decision and acknowledgement handed down by the High Court, that individually owned land through communal ownership ignored evidence of individual plots and the concept of ‘name holder’ or lu kem le. This was further thumped by legislation, denying a fair and legal award of a common land title that was cleverly blocked by legislation for a communal native title.
The question persists, was not the state in its original concept formed to protect the rights of landowners to land and property? Now it denies landowners the very property from whom it is sworn to protect – their right to own land under a common law (law that is applied to all – common to all). Is not individual property ownership a principal concept of democracy? The soil was tilled, the land was settled, the society had laws, the people knew their laws, yet legal fiction and mythmaking triumphed over evidence and justice.
Kangaroo Court uses the concept of the courts jumping over legal jurisprudence that empirical evidence did prove without a doubt that the claims of individuals went beyond their original litigation to impede justice to individuals that participated in the principles of precedential law in the favour of communal ownership and put the plaintiffs in their place by legislation that cannot be again contested in favour of any litigant or litigants concerning rights to traditional customary divine given lands.
Kangaroo Court was selected as a finalist in the 2019 Telstra Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award