Mabo V Queensland Case Study

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‘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
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The High court decision was finally handed down in June 1992 five months after Eddie Mabo had passed away. Eddie Mabo had died on 21 January 1992. His Passion and hard work were recognised when he was selected as an Australian of the Year on January 26th 1993 by the Australian newspaper. According to Access and Justice 12e “All the Judges except Justice Dawson agreed that there was a concept of native title at common law. The nature and content of native law was determined by the character of the connection or occupation under traditional laws or customs.” The decision of the High Court was in favour of Eddie Mabo. The decision was purely based on the fact that the Murray Islanders have an ancestral and strong sense of relationship to their lands in Murray Island. The decision of this case not only abolished the concept of Tera Nullius, it had altered the relations between indigenous and non –indigenous. In accordance to the extract from Mabo v Queensland (no.2) “……six members of the court [Dawson J. dissenting] are in agreement that the common law of this country recognises a form of native title which, in the cases where it has not been distinguished, reflects the entitlement of the indigenous inhabitants, in accordance with their customs, to their traditional land and that …show more content…
The Mabo case ensured recognition of the rights of individual changing Australia and Australian legal system perpetually. Many aboriginals around the country were able to attain their land rights after this case. Mabo case had a huge impact on the aboriginals emotionally and legally as they were able to attain ownership of their land.
On the contrary the mining and pastoral industries were very much opposed to the Mabo decision. They had opposing views due to their investment and economic circumstances which later led to the Wik decision. The Wik decision is the decision of the High Court of Australia on whether statuary leases terminate land rights or not.
In conclusion Mabo v Queensland is a very crucial and essential case which established traditional and legal land rights for aboriginals. The High Court decision being in favour of Eddie Mabo impacted the country significantly. Australian legal system eventually recognised aboriginals as owners of their land to which they have a long connection by abolishing Terra Nullius. This decision also highlighted the passion and hard work of the people involved in this case, especially Eddie

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