This case (at ) reminds us that the operation of all statutory definitions yield to contrary intention10. The Act said that a native title claim could not be made over unallocated Crown land covered by a lease. While some parts of the Act said ‘lease’ included mining leases11, there was no consistency.
The court held that a native title claim could be pursued because what mattered here was the context in which the ‘non-extinguishment principle’12 applied. As noted (at ), provisions giving effect to that principle showed that ‘lease’ extended to mining leases. iTip – statutory definitions do not always determine the answer.
This case is from Episode 48 of interpretationNOW!
10 Treloar  1 VR 447 (at 449), Buresti (1998) 88 FCR 399 (at 401).
12 s 238 of the Native Title Act 1993.