First languages Australia recommends using the term 'language' for all language varieties rather than attempting to capture the relationship of one language to another through use of a linguistic term.
Each of Australia's more than 700 languages has its own characteristics with which speakers of the language can distinguish their language/s from those of their neighbours. We recommend against using linguistic terms such as 'dialect' and 'creole' as they can inaccurately imply simplicity and lower status.
Contemporary languages such as Kriol, Aboriginal English and Yumplatok should be named in their own right. Despite sharing some characteristics with English, they have their own sound system, distinct structure, grammatical rules, lexicon and social norms–and could not be spoken by an English speaker who hasn't learned the language. These languages also each have many distinct varieties as they are based on the traditional languages of the regions in which they developed. For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people they are the first language they learn as children and continue to be a primary language throughout life.
Writers should always be guided by local community experts with regard to their preferred terms.
Further explanation was provided by Walsh, M., and Yallop, C. (1993). Language and Culture in Aboriginal Australia. Chapter 1, Language and culture in Aboriginal Australia. Aboriginal Studies Press, Canberra, ACT:
It is difficult to be precise about the numbers of dialects and languages because the information available is often poor and terms like 'dialect' and 'language' can shade into each other. For the English language we can recognise dialects like Australian English, Canadian English, New Zealand English, and so on. The differences between these dialects may not be so great as to interfere with communication. But what of Scots English and Jamaican English? Here the differences may be sufficient to create difficulties in communication - at least in the short term - even though we refer to them as kinds of English. On the other hand, we also recognise forms of speech which are clearly separate languages, such as German and Spanish, Irish and Armenian or Hindi and Greek. Despite their current differences these languages all go back to a single ancestral language spoken thousands of years ago. In Aboriginal Australia there are languages which are clearly distinct, like Tiwi (from Bathurst and Melville Islands, off the north coast of Australia) and Pitjantjatjara (from the desert areas of South Australia and Western Australia). There are also forms of speech which share much the same grammar but differ in pronunciation and vocabulary just as various dialects of English do. Examples of such forms of speech are Gugada, Ngaanyatjarra, Luritja, Pintupi and Pitjantjatjara, which linguists have classified as belonging to the Western Desert Language'. This was not a term used by the native speakers themselves any more than a cover term like the 'Scandinavian Language' is used by speakers of closely related forms of speech like Danish and Norwegian. Danes and Norwegians feel that they have a separate language with a separate territory and that their language is a reflection of their group identity. The dialects of the Western Desert Language were spoken over a vast area of well over a million square kilometres in the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia. Not surprisingly there would be difficulties in communication between speakers of dialects which were widely separated.
Further background on multilingualism and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders can be found in, Global Lessons: Indigenous languages and multilingualism in school programs.