Essay on Mabo V Queensland : An Australian Landmark Case

1197 Words Nov 5th, 2015 5 Pages
‘Mabo V Queensland’ is an Australian prominent landmark case which began in 1982 in the High Court of Australia and ended in 1992. This case is commonly referred to as just ‘Mabo’. This case was taken to the High Court as a test case to establish Aboriginal’s land rights including their ownership of land. A test case is a case that establishes new legal rights or principles. In this case, the concept of terra nullius was also challenged. Terra Nullius means ‘empty land’.
The concept of terra nullius meant that Australia was an empty land before British settlement. This concept, therefore, suggested there is no ownership of this land by the aboriginals. A Torres Islander named Eddie Mabo was appalled once he discovered that he and his people’s/communities traditional ownership was unrecognisable by Australians and their laws. While working at James Cook University, he read many books and reports about aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders to further his knowledge. Due to his higher level of knowledge about his people and their land rights, he became an activist who fought for their land rights. He attended the Land Rights Conference in 1981 to ask for assistance for aboriginal land rights in particularly the ownership of Murray Island. During his speech he once said that “what we actually want is real help, not patronising colonial rule anymore; more advanced help from our prosperous white Queenslanders to enable us to stand on our own feet and be able to exercise our…

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