Land Rights

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Outline the issue ( What is the issue, definition)

During the 1770s visit of the British to Australia, Britain had declared the land was terra nullius. Meaning that this land of Australia belonged to nobody and therefore Britain could lawfully claim Australia for them. The British had not recognised the indigenous people as the owners of the land as they led traveling lifestyles and did not set up permanent towns and homes like the British did. Australia's Indigenous people began to try and fight for their land rights during in the mind 1900s. One example was the fight of the Yolngu people in the early 1970s. They took their concerns about the mining of their land to a judge in the hope of gaining some land rights. The judge told them that they did not have any rights because, legally, Australia was still terra nullius.

Identify significant individuals or/ + groups who have expressed views about the issue.

Eddie Mabo is a well-known man for initiating the land rights argument, but was held back when he discovered his birthplace, Mer Island was not legally his own or his families The new he received distressed Eddie, and began to speak out to individuals about his story and who he was. In the early 80’s a lawyer recommended he take the “Terra nullius” claim to the courts of law. He followed his advice but Mabo died a few months later, his decision led the way for land rights legislation and provided more rights to Australia.

The Wik case involved the rights of land which had been rented out by the government for pastoral determination. Pastoral leases were formed by British officers when residents were land grabbing during the 1830s and 1840s. The authority’s defined pastoral leases, as leases that didn’t grant squatters possession of the land. However the land was owned by the Government and on behalf of Australian individuals. Saying this land was a public property. Wik indigenous people then established a court case which claimed that land...
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