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The National Apology Of 2008 Essay

1732 words - 7 pages

Intro: 50-80 words
The National Apology of 2008 is the latest addition to the key aspects of Australia’s reconciliation towards the Indigenous owners of our land. A part of this movement towards reconciliation is the recognition of Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders rights to their land. Upon arrival in Australia, Australia was deemed by the British as terra nullius, land belonging to no one. This subsequently meant that Indigenous Australians and Torres Strait Islanders were never recognised as the traditional owners. Eddie Mabo has made a highly significant contribution to the rights and freedoms of Indigenous Australians as he was the forefather of a long-lasting court case in 1982 fighting for the land rights of the Torres Strait Islanders. Eddie Mabo’s introduction of the Native Title Act has provided Indigenous Australians with the opportunity to state claim to their land, legally recognising the Indigenous and the Torres Strait Islanders as the traditional owners.
Body Paragraph 1: 200-300 words
Eddie Mabo’s success at land rights has reshaped and rewrote Australian society and history. Mabo was born a Torres Strait Islander and a member of the Meriam people on Murray (Mer) Island, 1936. He went on to be an Indigenous community leader and human rights activist after marrying Bonita Nehow in 1959 and joining the Torres Strait Islander community, consequently becoming director of the Townsville Black Community School in 1973. Patrick Hatch, reporter for Herald Sun Newspaper 2013, reiterated Mabo’s reaction once told his land on Mer belonged to the Crown and not his family by Professor’s Noel Loos and Henry Reynolds, co-workers from James Cook University where Mabo worked as a gardener in 1974. “Everybody knows it’s Mabo land, it’s been Mabo land for generations – no one would dream of trying to move in on it.” (Hatch, 2013). Subsequently, whilst presenting about ownership and inheritance on Mer at a Land Rights Conference, 1981, a lawyer recommended that Mabo uphold a test case to claim his rights. (Way, 2013). Accordingly, May 1982 saw five Meriam men (Eddie Mabo, Sam Passi, Father Dave Passi, James Rice, and Celuia Mapo Salee) begin legal claim against Queensland in the High Court of Australia. As a result of the case, Mabo gained two victories. The first was when the Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act of 1985 was looked upon stating that any Torres Strait Islander land claim that was made could not be passed. Mabo’s team challenged this act, being voted unenforceable. This became known as Mabo No.1 followed by No.2 despite Mabo’s death from lung cancer five months prior. (Gordon, 2014). The 10 year case was voted 6 to 1 for land ownership to be the traditional Mer people. According to the NSW government ‘this decision altered the foundation of land law in Australia’. Michael Gordon, reporter for Sydney Morning Herald 2014, stated ‘the decision ended the legal fiction of terra nullius, and was the first time native...

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