Mortensen, Reid (2000) Slaving in Australian courts: blackbirding cases, 1869-1871. Journal of South Pacific Law , 4. pp. 7-37.
Text (Published Version)
This article examines major prosecutions in New South Wales and Queensland for blackbirding practices in Melanesian waters, and early regulation under the Imperial Kidnapping Act that was meant to correct problems those prosecutions raised. It considers how legal argument and adjudication appropriated the political debate on the question whether the trade in Melanesian labour to Queensland and Fiji amounted to slaving, and whether references to slaving in Australian courts only compounded the difficulties of deterring recruiting abuses in Melanesia. It is suggested that, even though the Imperial Government conceived of the Kidnapping Act as a measure to deal with slaving, its success in Australian courts depended on its avoiding any reference to the idea of slavery in the legislation itself. This is developed in three parts. Part 1 provides the social context, introducing the trade in Melanesian labour for work in Queensland. Part 2 explores the prosecutions brought under the slave trade legislation and at common law against labour recruiters, especially those arising from incidents involving the Daphne and the Jason. It attempts to uncover the way that lawyers in these cases used arguments from the broader political debate as to whether the trade amounted to slaving. Part 3 concludes with an account of the relatively more effective regulation brought by the Kidnapping Act, with tentative suggestions as to how the arguments about slaving in Australian courts influenced the form that regulation under the Act had to take.
|Item Type:||Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)|
|Additional Information:||© University of the South Pacific 2000. Author's version unavailable.|
|Uncontrolled Keywords:||blackbirding; slaving; Australian courts|
|Subjects:||390000 Law, Justice and Law Enforcement > 390100 Law > 390111 International Law|
|Depositing User:||epEditor USQ|
|Date Deposited:||03 Aug 2009 06:52|
|Last Modified:||15 Nov 2013 02:03|
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