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History: MABO Decision

History

Background Information

Mabo - the Native Title Revolution digital learning resources

In Full: Noel Pearson remembers Gough Whitlam

It is worth reading about the The Racial Discrimination Act passed by Gough Whitlam in 1975 and browsing the Human Rights Commission site.

Over time a range of laws concerning Indigenous Australians have been passed  since the European settlement of Australia, initially by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, then by the Governors or legislature of each Australian colonies and more recently by the Parliament of Australia and that of each of its States and Terrritories,

The most relevant to you in your study of Mabo is the Native Title Act. Good background information is available on the ABS website, Wikipedia, the NFSA digital learning site, the Creative Spirits site and the information published by the Human Rights Council.

The eulogy in full

Wikipedia

  • Eddie Mabo
     
  • Mabo V Queensland (No 1)
    A significant court case decided in the High Court of Australia on 8 December 1988. This case was a significant step towards the recognition in the main case, Mabo V Queensland (No 2), that native title existed.
  • Mabo V Queensland (No 2)
    Begun 1982, decided 1992 (commonly known as Mabo) was a landmark High Court of Australia decision recognizing native title in Australia for the first time
  • Terra Nullis 
    Terra nullius is a Latin expression deriving from Roman law meaning "land belonging to no one" (or "no man's land"), which is used in international law to describe territory which has never been subject to the sovereignty of any state, or over which any prior sovereign has expressly or implicitly relinquished sovereignty

The Eddie Koiki Mabo Lecture 2006

Native Title

Agreements, Treaties and Negotiated Settlements (ATNS) project

Articles

Aboriginal Land Rights

The following clips are from the Screen Australia archive

Blood Brothers (1993) – From Little Things Big Things Grow  

Clip 1: No more music: Carmody tells how he and his brother were taken from their parents and put in a 'school’ (converted army barracks) and never lived at home again. Historical stills and footage show the young Carmody brothers and the school.

Clip 2: Wave Hill walkout: Kevin Carmody and Paul Kelly discuss the song 'From Little Things Big Things Grow’. They also discuss the Wave Hill walkout, when the Gurindji people – led by Vincent Lingiari – went on strike to get their land back from British Lord Vestey. Black-and-white footage of the actual strike is juxtaposed with the interview with Carmody and Kelly.

Mabo: an address to the nation

Mabo: an address to the nation is Prime Minister Paul Keating's endorsement of the Mabo decision. He sets up the context for his government’s plans by outlining the deep connection of Australia’s first inhabitants to their land and highlighting the ‘lie’ that Australia ‘belonged to no-one’ when European settlement began. His message is that wrongs of the past must be righted.


First Australians / SBS TV / Clips from Screen Australia website

Episode 7, We are no longer shadows 2008
The seventh and final episode of First Australians covers the period 1967–93, focusing on the Torres Strait Islands and Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo’s fight for land rights. This period was, globally, a time of increased civil rights advocacy and political activism, but also of a high level of racism and oppression of Aboriginal people, especially in Queensland.

Clip 1: 'We'd have to start to get political'. The rousing introduction to this episode is a stark reminder of the inequality experienced by black people all over the world. Mabo’s recollection of his treatment by white hotel owners and the hard life that he and his family led because of this inequality is very touching and a revealing insight into his life in the lead-up to his famous battle for land rights.

Clip 2: Discriminatory legislation. Narrator Rachel Perkins and Father Frank Brennan explain legislation brought in by the Queensland government to quash Mabo’s land claim. Barrister Bryan Keon-Cohen QC and historian Professor Marcia Langton of the Yiman-Bidjara Nation describe consequences of the legislation and its eventual dismissal by the High Court of Australia. We see the bicentenary protests on Australia Day 1988, and then Prime Minister Bob Hawke’s reaction to his inability to secure a treaty.

Clip 3: 'Campaign of Fear'. Father Frank Brennan, Eddie’s daughter Gail Mabo of the Meriam and Manbarra Nations and Donald Whaleboat of the Meriam Nation, talk about Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo and the outcomes of the trial. Narrator Rachel Perkins and historian Professor Marcia Langton of the Yiman-Bidjara Nation, accompanied by archival footage, describe the negative public reaction to the High Court decision.

 

First Australians – Episode 7, We Are No Longer Shadows (2008)

The seventh and final episode of First Australians covers the period 1967–93, focusing on the Torres Strait Islands and Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo’s fight for land rights. This period was, globally, a time of increased civil rights advocacy and political activism, but also of a high level of racism and oppression of Aboriginal people, especially in Queensland.

About "Mabo": the movie

With a Timeline of Native Title

The Conversation Hour Podcast

An interview with Greg Sheridan, Martin Indyk and Gail Mabo and John Faine
31 August, 2013

Mabo 20th Anniversary Roundtable 

27 August 2012
This is a roundtable discussion that took place around the time of the 20th anniversary of the High Court's Mabo decision.

Mabo Oration - 17 September, 2013  

The historic decision of the High Court, so argues Les Malezer, revised the legal status of the Aboriginal peoples, but did not address the right to self-determination or sovereignty over lands.

eResources

  • Collaborating for Indigenous Rights 1957-1973
    A great website by the National Museum Australia. Find information about the fight for civil rights, the struggle for land rights. Includes Indigenous Australians' personal stories, maps and a timeline.
  • How Aboriginal activism brought about change?
    Article about the important achievements of the 1960s for Indigenous Australians. From Australian Geographic magazine - includes timeline.
  • Aboriginal Land and Land Rights
    Detailed explanation of Aboriginal Land and Land Rights
  • Aboriginal History
    An excellent page of a website called Creative Spirits. information about the 1967 Referendum and the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. Includes a timeline.
  • Aboriginal Law and Justice
    Contemporary law and justice has replaced traditional Aboriginal law and caused much pain and suffering. Aboriginal deaths in custody and Aboriginal prison rates are perpetual problems. Circle sentencing seems to break the often deadly prison cycle.
  • Indigenous Rights
    Comprehensive website developed by the State Library of Victoria on Indigenous Rights
  • Aboriginality and the land
    Aboriginal Studies, NSW HSC Online, Charles Sturt University) [Senior School]

ABC News - 20th anniversary of Mabo decision

SBS Living Black - Mabo anniversary

From Little Things

Paul Kelly - From Little Things Big Thing Grow is a story song about the eight year long war between the Gurindji people lead by Vincent Lingiari and Lord Vestey. The events that took place in those eight years are responsible for rights that Australian Aboriginals have today. Good photographical clip.

Paul Keating 2UE - 1992 on Mabo - Talk Back Radio - John Laws

Mabo eResources

Explore treasures : Mabo's map

  • Native title
  • Eddie (Koiki) Mabo
  • Mabo v Queensland (No 2)

About "Mabo": the movie

With a Timeline of Native Title

The Conversation Hour Podcast

An interview with Greg Sheridan, Martin Indyk and Gail Mabo and John Faine
31 August, 2013

Mabo 20th Anniversary Roundtable 

27 August 2012
This is a roundtable discussion that took place around the time of the 20th anniversary of the High Court's Mabo decision.

Mabo Oration - 17 September, 2013  

The historic decision of the High Court, so argues Les Malezer, revised the legal status of the Aboriginal peoples, but did not address the right to self-determination or sovereignty over lands.

Browse articles online in the Aboriginal Law Bulletin and Indigenous Law Bulletin

AUSTLII  is a searchable legal database that provides text of legislation (eg. Native Title Act, 1993) and court rulings (Wik and Mabo)

AIATSIS, Native Title Research Unit 

AnTAR, Native Title and Land Rights

Mabo vs Queensland the High Court decision

National Native Title Tribunal is an 
independent body set up under the Native Title Act 1993 to facilitate native title outcomes 

Articles

The Sunday Age - A judgement that changed Australia (pdf), 9 June 2002. On the 10th anniversary of the Mabo Decision.

The Australian – National Affairs : Time to revisit native title laws Paul Keating June 01, 2011

The Sydney Morning Herald – National Times Squatters, native title and the fight for indigenous land rights by  Paul Keating 
June 1, 2011. Paul Keating was Prime Minister from 1991 to 1996. This is an extract of his Lowitja O'Donoghue Oration delivered 31 May, 2011

Queensland

The Guardian 8 June, 2005

Queensland's darkest days

Queensland Aboriginal activists have remembered former Premier Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen as they saw him — as a "paternalistic", cruel and "racist" man who reigned over a time of great conflict and oppression in Queensland Indigenous affairs