Investigation of the relationship of Aboriginal customary law to Australian common and statute law

Criminology Research Council grant ; (12/83)

The report focussed on petrol sniffing among Pitjantjatjara children, and placed the problem in a cultural context. It argued that due to complex external factors bearing on the traditional way of life, the mobility so essential to the maintenance of traditional culture was under threat, and this was resulting in a cleavage of identity for young people. A major consequence was the inhalation of petrol fumes. This phenomenon had grown over the past ten years to a point where hospitalisation, and even death, had become regular occurrences. While the report was critical of solutions which were determined in isolation from the communities affected, it was clear that government had a role to play in prescribing limits. It was vital, however, that this be done with the full co-operation of the Pitjantjatjara people.