Australia National Identity

Decent Essays
Having a national identity is a way for all countries to show a sense of cohesiveness, as represented by distinctive traditions, values, and forms of behaviour. It can be seen as a character which binds the members of the society as one and differentiates them with others. As Benedict Anderson suggests, a nation itself is not given but rather constructed, by the style and ties in which the communities imagined, making them believe they are connected to one another. Australia, with its Aboriginal heritage and the past of being a part of Britain and is now labelled as multicultural, may have suffered from an identity crisis. Hence, by examining the myth of Terra Nullius and the Indigenous’ continuing struggles for land right recognition, this …show more content…
Terra Nullius – an unoccupied and empty land, was the underlying doctrine Captain James Cook used to the land he “discovered” back in 1770 as a rationalisation for Britain to take the legal entitlement to its sovereignty and ownership. However, the European powers could claim and take possession of a certain area only if they had acquired the consent of the natives, while the Aboriginal People as the sovereign owners of Australia had never ceded nor encountered any sort of treaties with Britain. This naturally led to the dispossession and denial rights of the existing true citizens of Australia who had originally inhabited the land for many …show more content…
Without recognising the sovereign rights of the indigenous society, the land was divided and structures were established arbitrarily. It took until one of the most significant cases throughout the history of the Australian nation called the High Court’s Mabo v Old decision took place in 1992 before the renouncement of the long-held legal notion of terra nullius where any pre-existing land rights must be recognised. To have finally been accorded the land ownership claims, the Aboriginal people seek access, ownership, use, possession and enjoyment to resources in the control of white Australia. In the face of continuing resistance, land rights movements began to emerge for Australia has long refused to give a genuine native title to its traditional

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