Eddie Mabo

Topics: Native title, Australia, Torres Strait Island culture Pages: 3 (1275 words) Published: September 14, 2010
Essay question 2-
In Australia, law reform is the practice of looking at current laws and then applying changes in a legal structure with the goal of improving fairness, righteousness or proficiency. In order for the reform to exist there are organizations such as reform bodies or law commissions (which are usually independent from the government) that have been set up to provide information in order to change an existing law. An example of an event and an individual that has had a massive impact on law reform in Australia is the Eddie Mabo case (Native Title Act) and the Port Arthur Massacre (Firearms Act 1996). Eddie Mabo lived in a village in the Murray Island’s. The Meriam people (Residents of the Murray Island’s) where the traditional land owners and passed on the ownership of their land from generation to generation in a spoken ceremony. The Meriam people refined gardens, fished, constructed buildings for government dealings and social events and also established and followed their own religion. They also have a trading and exporting/importing system set up with Cape York and other neighboring islands. The British commenced settlement in the Murray Island’s in 1788 and established “British Sovereignty”. Eddie Mabo decided to move from the Murray Island’s to the mainland to seek employment; he then wanted to return in the 1970’s but was viewed as a trouble maker and was rejected permission to return. Under the current law at the time, Eddie Mabo had no claim to his peoples land. He then decided to approach the High Court of Australia with four other traditional land owners to try and confirm their land rights. Eddie Mabo never challenged the matter of the British acquiring Sovereignty in Australia. The Native Title Act 1994 had a purpose to protect the native title and provide compensation where this title was lost. This act was prepared with the inclusion and input of the Indigenous people. In Mabo v. Queensland the High Court detained by majority of 4:3...

Bibliography: Books
Bingham, M (1996) Suddenly One Sunday: Harper Collins Pub. 2000
Scott, M (1996) Port Arthur: A Story of Strength and Courage. Australia: Random House. Pub 2006
Wellington, R. Mabo: The Tue Native Title Revolution. Tantamount Prod.
The Land Bilong Islanders online film incorporates material from Land Bilong Islanders, 52 minutes, produced by Yarra Bank Films P/L in 1990 and Mabo - Life of an Island Man, 85 minutes, produced by Film Australia in 1997.
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