Indigenous Rights and Freedoms
History, Year 10
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights have been a huge issue over the
past 75 years. Many different changes to civil laws concerning indigenous rights have occurred during these 75 years, as well as many symbolic, but not legislative, changes. Although some small legal changes were made to the civil rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as a result of the Mabo decision, the 2008 Apology and the ‘Bringing them Home’ Report had a much more symbolic impact on society, regarding the way indigenous people were perceived.
The Mabo vs. Queensland case is a widely celebrated event. Eddie Koiki Mabo was the face of the decade long (1982 – 1992) struggle against the Queensland government, and consequently, the Federal Government, for the land rights of Murray (Mer) island, where He grew up. “'My name is Edward Mabo, but my island name is Koiki. My family has occupied the land here for hundreds of years before Captain Cook was born. They are now trying to say I cannot own it…We should stop calling them boss. We must be proud to live in our own palm leaf houses like our fathers before us.” Mabo said this to show the importance of the island to him, he talked about his ‘island name’ and how he is proud to be a Meriam person. This quote shows how much he wanted to gain his land back from the Queensland Government. The final decision was “that the land in the Murray Islands is not Crown land…”. This was one of the three declarations made by Justice Brennan, one of the seven judges on the case. The judgments made on the Mabo vs. Queensland case were ones that only affected Meriam people (people who lived on Mer Island), not all Indigenous Australians. This is shown by the claims to land made by the Yorta Yorta people, the Miriuwuny people and the Gajerrong people, all of which have been unsuccessful. The Yorta Yorta people have made a claim over land...
References: Calma, T. (2007). Responses to the inquiry- Australian Government. Retrieved 30th July, 2013, from, http://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/rightsed-bringing-them-home-9-responses-inquiry-australian-government
Mabo v Queensland No. 2. (1992). N/A. Retrieved Tuesday 18th, June, 2013, from, http://foundingdocs.gov.au/scan-sid-89.html
National Sorry Day Committee (NSDC)
N/A. (N/D). Overturning the Doctrine of Terra Nullius: The Mabo case. Retrieved Tuesday 18th, June, 2013, from, www.aiatsis.gov.au/ntru/docs/resources/resourceissues/mabo.pdf
[ 4 ]. The Age. (2002). A judgement that Changed Australia
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[ 7 ]. National Sorry Day Committee (NSDC). (2013). The Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples
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