On the 6th of June 1992 The high court of Australia made the decision to overturn the doctrine of Terra Nullius, Mabo v Queensland (No2) (1992) 175 CRL 1, this decision caused a very significant impact on Australia’s Law and legal History. It was the first time since British settlement in 1770 that native title was recognised in Australia for Indigenous Australians. Native title refers to land title rights indigenous Australians have with land that has cultural significance to them. The decision ruled in favour of the common law doctrine of Aboriginal title.
Captain cook first applied Terra Nullius in Australia in 1770 when he claimed the East Coast of NSW for Britain. Terra Nullius is a Latin term meaning “Land belonging to no one” and was …show more content…
The Torres Strait Islands were annexed by the crown in 1879. Mabo argued that since the Meriam people had occupied the islands for thousands of years the land should be recognised as theirs and not recognised as Crown land per the Land Act 1962 (Reynolds, Henry: The Law of the Land, Penguin, Melbourne, (2nd ed.), 1992). The case went on for 10 years being heard in the High Court and the Queensland Supreme Court. On the 3rd of June 1992 the high court made its decision with in favour to Mabo and the Meriam people, under the common law of Australia that native title did exist (Pelczynski, Stan (1993). The High Court Recognition of Native Title - The Mabo Judgement and Its …show more content…
Year Book Australia). The Native title Act was significant as it provided a legal doctrine for Indigenous Australians to claim ownership of land that had a significance to their tribe and culture. Currently 15 percent of Australia is under ownership of Indigenous Australians which is Native Title land (Reconciliation Australia (2014). The Mabo Decision). It was a significant impact as now Indigenous Australians had the legal rights for the first time to claim back land by taking issues to court. In 1994 the National Native Title Tribunal was established and it dealt with legal matters concerning native title. The tribunal’s procedures took in account the cultural and customary concerns of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and had the power to determine uncontested native title and compensation claims which had never been seen in Australia
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Eddie Mabo was a recognised Indigenous Australian who fought for his land, Murray Island. Mabo spent a decade seeking official recognition of his people’s ownership of Murray Island (Kwirk, 2012). He became more of an activist, he campaigned for better access for indigenous peoples to legal and medical services, to house, to social services and to education. The Mabo case was a milestone court case which paved the way for fair land rights for indigenous people. The Merriam people wanted to ensure its protection. Eddie Mabo significantly contributed to the civil and land rights of Indigenous people in Australia due to his argument to protect his land rights. In a speech in 1976, at a conference on the redrawing of the Torres Strait border, Mabo articulated a vision for islander self-determination and for an independent Torres Strait Island (Stephson, 2009).
Australian Legal Case: The Mabo Case The Mabo case commenced in the late 70's about an Aborigine Eddie Mabo who fought for his land on Murray Island, part of the Torres Strait. The issue that started the court case was when Mr Mabo appealed for a permit from the Queensland Government to visit the island. His proposal was declineed so he was unable to return home to visit his homeland.
The journey for the Aboriginals to receive the right to keep and negotiate land claims with the Canadian government was long but prosperous. Before the 1970's the federal government chose not to preform their responsibilities involving Aboriginal issues, this created an extremely inefficient way for the Aboriginals to deal with their land right problems. The land claims created by the Canadian government benefited the aboriginals as shown through the Calder Case, the creation of the Office of Native Claims and the policy of Outstanding Business.
The first is Paul Keating’s Redfern speech of December 1992, during the Mabo case. Keating spoke about the injustices committed against Indigenous people since European settlement of Australia and the need to acknowledge and remedy these. The conflicting source is an interview of John Howard on the 7.30 report in 1997, 4 years after the Mabo decision. Howard deals with the perceived implications of the Mabo and subsequent land title decisions for land ownership across Australia. The two sources conflict as they are taken from opposing parts of the mainstream Australian political spectrum. They reflect the so-called History Wars, a debate regarding the unresolved cultural struggle over the nature of the Indigenous dispossession and the place it should assume in Australian self-understanding. The Redfern Speech sets out the views of the left wing, progressive spectrum of Australian political views. John Howard’s interview sets out the arguments against the political and economic effects of the Mabo decision and subsequent land title decisions and largely reflects right-wing political views. The sources differ not only in their political views but also the time that they were given. Keating sets out his moral perspective regarding the need to rectify the past wrongs and improve the future prospects for Australian indigenous people. It was delivered before the final Mabo high court decision, and so cannot deal with the social, economic and political implications of said decision. Contrastingly, John Howards interview was 4 years after the Mabo decision, during which several subsequent land title decisions had been made. Consequently, his interview focused on his views of the implications of those subsequent events for Australia’s political, social and economic
Since European invasion in 1788, Indigenous Australians have struggled to maintain their rights and freedoms and to have governments recognise them. Over time, state and Commonwealth governments have implemented policies that have discriminated against Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, denying them equality, opportunity and control of their own lives and those of their children (Jacaranda, 2012). Indigenous Australians have been politically active in demanding their rights. Charles Perkins was an Aboriginal Activist who fought in the struggle for recognition, justice and legal acknowledgments for Indigenous people. To a large extent Charles Perkins has impacted the civil rights of Indigenous Australians; significantly advancing human rights and paving the way for reconciliation.
The decision upheld the claims of five plaintiffs from Murray Island that Australia was occupied by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who had their own laws and customs, and whose 'native title' to land survived the Crown's invasion. Therefore, the court recognised the presence of native title as part of Australian common law.
Struggles by Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people for recognition of their rights and interests have been long and arduous (Choo & Hollobach: 2003:5). The ‘watershed’ decision made by the High Court of Australia in 1992 (Mabo v Queensland) paved the way for Indigenous Australians to obtain what was ‘stolen’ from them in 1788 when the British ‘invaded’ (ATSIC:1988). The focus o...
It said that aboriginal people should be treated equally with land rights, as indigenous Australians were the first on our land that we are on today. This challenged many different previous Australian legal statements to do with Aboriginals including one of the main ones being that Aboriginal or Torres Strait Island communities or people owned no land before the arrival of the British in 1788. This statement was called Terra Nullius, which means land belonging to no one. This Native Title Act of 1993 recognized native title and recognizing and that the aboriginal’s community owns the land, as they are the original owners. The Mabo decision was one of Australia’s firsts steps in recovering all the injustices towards the Indigenous people that were happening in the past and giving them back the land they hold so dearly that they own. The Mabo decision contributed to the collective Identity of Indigenous people as is gave back there cultural land and bringing the most major part back to the aboriginal culture which is the land and the connection between them and the land. This Native Title Act of 1993 allowed the aboriginals to enhance there collective identity due to the fact that it was the first time they were positively recognized and the first time they got something back that was once taken from them all making there beliefs, rituals stronger and overall enhancing there collective identity of being aboriginal. Since the Mabo decision there has been many other cases and different changes and different things added to the native title. The Mabo Decision first did the recognition and giving back of the aboriginal land and it was one of the first to recognize that the land title was wrong and that it did belong to the
This claim was based on the concept of terra nullius, or land belonging to no one, whereby Britain assumed that Australia was not settled, and Aboriginal people did not have any form of political organisation and therefore had no authority to sign treaties. According to British law, Australia’s Indigenous population had no legitimate claim to the land on which they had lived for thousands of years and this relates to Native Title.
In 1992, terra nullius was abolished in Australia, which can be accredited to the campaign of Eddie ‘Koiki’ Mabo. In the feature film, Mabo, both Koiki’s positive and negative qualities are revealed throughout his emotional and political journey for Indigenous land rights. While not always recognised, Koiki possesses admirable character that is displayed in his family life, pursuit for justice, prior achievements and in court, which is inspired by his heroes.
Land rights now referred to the continual legal exertion to reclaim ownership of the land and waters that was called home prior to British colonisation (Creative Spirits, 2011). Australian Museum (2015) and Creative Spirits (2011) acknowledge the struggle to gain legal recognition and ownership of Indigenous land is difficult and expensive. Furthermore, the history behind the struggle in earlier years often resulted in violence as Indigenous Australians were dispossessed of their land (Australian Museum, 2015). Subsequently, the struggle for land rights continued through the legal and political systems; as demonstrated in 1982 when Eddie (Koiki) Mabo and four other Meriam people decided to pursue declaration of their customary land rights in the High Court of Australia (Hill, 1995). Based on the findings of Creative Spirits (2011) Indigenous Australian land rights appeared promising in 1983 when the Hawke Government promised legislation to ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s land rights are protected throughout Australia. The legislation was said to permit Indigenous Australians to exercise the right of control over mining on Indigenous Australian land to ensure sacred sites are protected (Creative Spirits, 2011). However, in 1984 the mining companies fought back to repossess control over land. Mining and pastoral industries were considered too powerful and
Although many people deemed the idea to be much too costly, and not worth the money, Court believed there was high potential for the area. Court was aware of the growing political activism in the aboriginal population of Noonkanbah. Changes to the Mining Act 1979 (WA), which enabled miners to enter Aboriginal Reserve Land without permit, could be seen as a prevention act in opposition to these activists. Sir Charles Court had many strong views on the aboriginal community, which many said were based on the outdated idea of Social Darwinism, with one parliamentarian deeming his claims as being “as any nineteenth-century white liberal was sure of the superiority of our culture and religion and he thinks the Aboriginies should join us in due course – get with the strength and join the superior people”. (Beresford, 2006) In 1979 the media began to gain interest for the communities fight for rights against Court and the mining companies. With the Aboriginal Legal Service representing the Noonkanbah community, although not able to stop the situation completely, they successfully put mining prospects on hold in June 1979. However, with physical force and police assistance the plans for mining went through in August 1980, with Sir Charles Court and the mining companies winning their right to the
Before the Indigenous Australians gained Land Rights in Australia, in 1788 the East Coast of Australia was claimed by the English Monarch and was called Crown Land. The reason behind the English Monarch's claim for Crown Land was that they believed that that land was “terra nullius”, meaning land belonging to no one”. In 1976 the Northern Territory was the first state government to allow Indigenous Australians to claim Crown Land and reserves in the Northern Territory that no one had the use for. Commission and increased funding was also granted to Indigenous Australians through the 1975 Racial Discrimination act made by the Whitlam Government. These acts and decisions were then overruled against in 1985 by the High Court. Article 8 “everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution of law” and Article 16 “the family (...) is entitled to protection by society and the State” of the UDHR are evidence of the discrimination Indigenous Australians faced by the government as they were once again stripped away of their human rights and land titles. Indigenous Australians only began to grant land from the English Monarch after the case between Mabo and others versus the State of Queensland took place that decided in favour of
Since the time of federation the Aboriginal people have been fighting for their rights through protests, strikes and the notorious ‘day of mourning’. However, over the last century the Australian federal government has generated policies which manage and restrained that of the Aboriginal people’s rights, citizenships and general protection. The Australian government policy that has had the most significant impact on indigenous Australians is the assimilation policy. The reasons behind this include the influences that the stolen generation has had on the indigenous Australians, their relegated rights and their entitlement to vote and the impact that the policy has had on the indigenous people of Australia.
When Captain Cook arrived in 1788 and the colonisation of Australia began, the Indigenous people of Australia struggled and fought to protect their country from infringement, theft and violation. The Indigenous people were faced with a dominant military force and an extremely different view of the world. Over one hundred years ago, the colonists understood this land to be open for the taking and the rightful first owners were treated as intruders on their own land. In 1901 the commonwealth of Australia was proclaimed and a supposedly new era was to occur for this “lucky country” and its inhabitants. http://www.greenleft.org.au/back/2001/433/433pl6.htm However, for Indigenous Australians, this year marked a 113 years of resistance, removal, withdrawal and dispossession. Over one hundred years later, the Native Title act is passed and Indigenous Australian’s continue their political struggle for land rights