Eddie Koiki Mabo, whose ongoing work demolished the legal fiction of ‘terra nullius’ – the presumption that Australia belonged to no one before 1788 – is being honoured in Australia today as part of the country’s celebration of his legacy.
In 1992, the High Court had ruled in the Mabo case that had been pending before it.
It was for first time that it was acknowledged that relationship between the people of the First Nations and the land dates back before colonization and remains vital to this day.
In addition to this, it prepared the groundwork for the Native Title Act of 1993.
According to Linda Burney, Minister for Indigenous Australians, Eddie Mabo’s decade-long fight for rights led to one of the most significant acts of acknowledgement in the legal history of Australia.
“Today, we honour Eddie Koiki Mabo, whose work led to the legal recognition of a historical fact – that Indigenous Australians’ connection to land existed for thousands of years before 1788 and was not extinguished by colonization.” “Today, we honour Eddie Koiki Mabo, whose work led to the legal recognition of a historical fact.”
We must maintain our dedication to reducing disparities in education, healthcare, life expectancy, and justice if we are to do justice to Eddie Mabo’s memory and honour his legacy.
“Recognition through Voice” will be an essential next step in providing “practical change” that will enhance the lives of First Nations Australians.
“I believe Australians are ready to update our constitution in a way that will celebrate our history and the ongoing relationship of Indigenous Australians with this land, and they are also ready to drive change that will build a better future for all of us.”
According to the Attorney General, Mark Dreyfus, “The hopes and dreams that Eddie Koiki Mabo’s victory unleashed will not be fulfilled until we have completely closed the gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
“And we will not have won Eddie Koiki Mabo’s fight until we have fully embraced the generous offer of the Uluru Statement from the Heart for a true partnership to pursue meaningful reconciliation as a nation,” Mabo said. “Until then, we will not have finished Eddie Koiki Mabo’s fight.”
“On Mabo Day, I would like to take this opportunity to thank native title holders who do their best for kin and country,” said Senator Malarndirri McCarthy, Assistant Minister for Indigenous Australians. In light of events that have recently taken place in Central Australia, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Lhere Artepe Rangers for their contribution to maintaining peace and stability in Alice Springs.
“The Mabo case demonstrates how far we have come as a nation in so many different ways, and it gives hope that we can continue this journey toward a better future for our young people.”
“It is a great tragedy that Eddie Mabo never lived to know the outcome of his High Court action,” said Senator Patrick Dodson, the Special Envoy for Reconciliation as well as the Implementation of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. However, residents in First Nations communities will never forget him and honour his legacy.