The Mabo Case Analysis

1040 Words 5 Pages
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have struggled to gain equality and cultural recognition among the people that took away their rights and freedoms along with taking their land. Although through many years of struggling, with resilience and strength, the ATSI people have repossessed the rights and freedoms they always deserved. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may have gained back their rights, but they are still at a disadvantage in our society, as a matter of fact, they rate as among the most disadvantaged peoples in Australia; so how much of society’s attitudes have really changed?
The treatment of the ATSI people is a part of what has shaped contemporary Australia today, our behaviour and actions towards Aboriginal
…show more content…
The Mabo Case was a decision made by the High Court on whether Australia was terra nullius (empty land – or land that belongs to nobody) as the British declared when they settled here, or whether it did/does in actual fact belong to the indigenous peoples. The High Court decided that terra nullius should not be applied to Australia, which was yet another huge turning point for the ATSI people as it recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights and acknowledged their unique connection to the land. This decision also lead to the Native Title Act of 1993 which further recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have rights to, and interests in, certain land because of their traditional laws and customs. These events are important because dispossession and denial of land was the first act in the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Europeans. “Native title is very important to us because it has allowed us to get our country back, to protect our spirits and sites, to go camping, hunting and fishing. Before native title we never had any recognition as traditional owners, we had no rights in our own country. Now we feel empowered.” (Nyaparu Rose, Nyangumarta Elder, Western Australia). The Mabo decision and the Native Title Act are examples of society’s continual changing attitudes towards ATSI people (especially regarding legislation) and the constant battle …show more content…
Although their achievements were of vital importance on their road to equality, they are still at a disadvantage in today’s society. In fact, they are subject to poorer health, lower levels of education and employment, child abuse or neglect, lower income, racism, shorter life expectancy, higher rates of infant mortality and many more. “A number of researchers suggest that deep underlying causes include ‘intergenerational trauma’ resulting from the ongoing and cumulative effects of colonisation, loss of land, language and culture, the erosion of cultural and spiritual identity, forced removal of children, and racism and discrimination.” (Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage: Key Indicators 2014). Although colonisation was over 200 years ago, Indigenous people today are still experiencing the repercussion of it and of the events that followed such as the assimilation policy. And although society’s attitude has improved there is still a long way to go in acceptance of the ATSI people as many still experience racism today. Racism has become less obvious as it is now more cultural rather than individual. One does not have to look far in contemporary Australia to find evidence of cultural racism. The public chatter in taxicabs, pubs, football matches and barbecues is full with evidence of assumed racial differences. Without

Related Documents