According to the International covenant of Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, two international agreements Australia has agreed to, as well as the Draft Universal Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples defines the right of self-determination as:
1. All peoples have the right of self determination. By virtue of that right, they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development
2. All peoples may, for their own ends, freely dispose of their natural wealth and resources without prejudice to any obligations arising out of international economic cooperation, based on the principal of mutual benefit, and international law. In no case may a people be deprived of its own means of subsistence.
3. To have the right to own, develop, control and use the lands and territories and other resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used.
World governments are hesitant to self-determination claims, as it usually entitles that they lose the control and power over a certain land or over a group of people claiming it. Therefore there is a clash of the governments wants and needs and the indigenous people's wants and needs within the legal system. With the above definitions the government's needs and wants cannot live parallel to those that the indigenous people have.
However not all of the values above are represented by Australia's indigenous people. In the address to the International Labor Organization by the National Coalition of Aboriginal Organizations in 1988 stated that:
"We are not looking to dismember your states...But we do insist on the right to control our territory, our resources, the organization of our societies, out own decision-making institutions, and the maintenance of our culture and ways of life"