He would later describe his time on the island as 'the best time of my life'1. Australian law for two centuries hid the truth behind words. He's recorded as saying: "No way, it's not theirs, it's ours." But he was wrong. A culture and a people facing devastation. Mabo - as in Eddie Mabo, who famously fought a winning fight against the legal doctrine of terra nullius to enshrine Aboriginal land rights in law - is referenced on two occasions. Elders saythe wateris now a battleground. Ten years later, he conceded his fears were unfounded. The 50-minute recording shows Koiki Mabo talking about the history of the Torres Strait Islander community, both in the Torres Strait and on the Australian mainland, and the long term impact on his culture of the coming of Europeans, from the first missionaries to current government administrators. When our world is ablaze with conflict. In the Shire of . Born in 1936, he grew up in the village of Las on the north bend of Mer Island. He knew about suffering. I hope that youll share with me the need to move this conversation forward, in order to best realise our rights under native title and the benefits that should follow from that. Eddie Koiki Mabo Lecture Series. He had refused to surrender his interests, or those of his people, to the domination of others. 23 Nov 1990 - 21 Oct 1994 Library at the University College of Townsville, Queensland. Justice Blackburn ruled Australia was indeed a "settled colony", that this was"desert and uncultivated". But it was a bittersweet moment for the indigenous population. Eddie Mabo was a Torres Strait Islander activist. In his historic speech at Sydney's Redfern Park, then Prime Minister Paul Keaing said: "By doing away with the bizarre conceit that this continent had no owners prior to the settlement of Europeans, Mabo establishes a fundamental truth and lays the basis for justice." "If Koiki Mabo were alive today he would be an angry man," says Malezer. Sign up for free to create engaging, inspiring, and converting videos with Powtoon. Transcript of proceedings.in the High Court of Australia between Eddie Mabo, David Passi, James Rice.and the State of Queensland Proceedings for 28-31 May 1991, 3 June 1992, and 8 December 1992. A panel of judges at the High Court ruled that Aboriginal people were the rightful custodians of the land. The truth: This was his land. [1] And that shift is the move to the next emerging challenge; how do we maximise these rights to their full potential, now that we have our native title recognized? So today it is indeed an honour for both my people and myself to be presenting this year's Edward Koiki Mabo Lecture. Edward 'Koiki' Mabo (1936-1992), Torres Strait Islander community leader and land rights campaigner, was born on 29 June 1936 at Las, on Mer, in the Murray group of islands, Queensland, the fourth surviving child of Murray Islands-born parents 'Robert' Zesou Sambo, seaman, and his wife 'Annie' Poipe, ne Mabo. The "fallacy" that Perkins speaks of is the concept of Terra Nullius, land belonging to no-one. He knew about hope and he knew about justice. This activity encourages children to write down their knowledge in a structured report . He is best known for the two court cases that bear his name, Mabo v. Queensland (numbers 1 and 2). The golden house of is of culture and connection, of blood and dreaming, of time immemorial how the golden house of is collapses. Husband, father, grandfather, mate, advocate, achiever, Principal and mentor. They both endured early hard lives that steeled them for the struggles that would eventually come their way. Born on 29 June 1936 in his village of Las on the island of Mer in the Torres Strait, Eddie Koiki Mabo was the fourth child of Robert Zesou Sambo and Poipe (Sambo) Mabo. These often hamper the development and economic aspirations of the communities involved right from the start. This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or "mother nature", and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. With support from legal experts, Mabo, along with fellow plaintiffs and Murray Islanders Reverend David Passi, Celuia Mapoo Salee, Sam Passi and James Rice, brought a case against the Queensland Government in the High Court. Participants identified that we need to start considering the role of the financial services industry, as well as agencies such as Indigenous Business Australia and the Indigenous Land Corporation in the context of our economic development. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty., "This is the torment of our powerlessness.". SPEECH - THURSDAY, 3 JUNE . The High Court is the highest court in Australia's judicial system. In 1981, Eddie Mabo delivered a speech at James Cook University in Queensland, where he challenged the widely accepted belief of ownership and inheritance of land on Murray Island. Alex Murdaugh jailed for life for double murder, Why the disgraced lawyer was spared death penalty, Saving Private Ryan actor Tom Sizemore dies at 61, The children left behind in Cuba's mass exodus, Xi Jinping's power grab - and why it matters, Snow, Fire and Lights: Photos of the Week. Some went further, fuelling the hysteria with unsubstantiated claims - Jeff Kennett, then the premier of Victoria, said suburban backyards could be at risk of takeover by Aboriginal people. Mabo Day is an official holiday in the Torres Shire, celebrated on 3 June. Eddie Koiki Mabo died of cancer on 21 January 1991, before the case was resolved. We pay our respects to the people, their cultures and Elders past, present and emerging. Eddie Koiki Mabo: Land Rights in the Torres Strait I would like to first of all express my sincere thanks to the organizers of this conference: in particular the James Cook University Student Union and the Aboriginal Treaty Committee in Townsville for allowing me to speak at this very important conference. Gail Mabo and Prime Minister Tony Abbott during their visit to the grave of Eddie Mabo on Mer Island. During this time he enrolled as a student and studied teaching at the College of Advanced Education, which later amalgamated with JCU. And he was right. In 1994 the Torres Strait Regional Authority (TSRA) was established in response to Read More This dispossession occurred largely without compensation, and successive governments have failed to reach a lasting and equitable agreement with Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders concerning the use of their lands.[12]. 2009 Presentation by Professor Ross Garnaut, Vice-Chancellor's Fellow and Professorial Fellow in Economics, The University of Melbourne, and Distinguished Professor, The Australian University. Mabo and others: products or agents of progress? Jenny Macklin MP, Minister for Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs. However the Federal Court found that the South Australian government were liable for an undisclosed amount to the Nguraritja people for parcels of land over which, but for the prior extinguishing acts of government, they would have held native title. It contains just 10 articles on what the instrument describes as an, inalienable right, by which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realised.[6]. Importantly, the Roundtable highlighted that despite previous promises around compensation for historical dispossession, this has not yet materialized. Others, mainly white opponents, regarded the judgement as a mistake. 10. My people are the Gangulu from the Dawson Valley in Central Queensland. Mabo's love for his homeland drove the proud Torres Strait Islander to undertake a 10- year legal battle that rewrote Australia's history. According to his daughter Gail Mabo, it 'fuelled his determination for recognition and equality in society'. Our landsings gently a song of sadness. Two generations talk about the impact of the 1967 Referendum and the 1992 Mabo Decision . This led to the subsequent High Court case, Mabo v Queensland (No 2), which was to determine the matter of the plaintiffs' land rights. Bonita 'Netta' Mabo: Eddie's wife and is a resourceful, supportive and loving woman. JCU websites use cookies to enhance user experience, analyse site usage, and assist with outreach and enrolment. On 8 December 1988, the High Court ruled this legislation invalid. The issue of compensation goes to the core of the initial intent of addressing the historical dispossession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from their lands and waters. Some records include terms and views that are not appropriate today. Eddie Mabo knew about love too. This needs to change. Eddie Mabo wanted to change the law of Terra Nullius and claim the Aboriginal people as the original owners of the land this would change social and political views of the aboriginal people. In May 1982, Eddie Mabo and four other Meriam people of the Murray Islands in the Torres Strait began action in the High Court of Australia seeking confirmation of their traditional land rights. Eddie Mabo's legal pursuit of these issues resulted in one of the most significant legal cases in Australian history, in that it completely overturned the idea of terra nullius (land belonging to no-one) and challenged traditionally held beliefs about how Australia came into being, and about ownership of land. In 1981, Eddie Mabo made a speech at James Cook University in Queensland, where he explained his people's beliefs about the ownership and inheritance of land on Mer. Transcript. A world turning. I like how the words create a rhythm. He knew about suffering. The Court also recognised that all Indigenous people in Australia have rights to their land. The preamble to the Native Title Act makes it clear that the objectives of the legislation are to: rectify the consequences of past injustices by the special measures contained in the Act to ensure that Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders receive the full recognition and status within the Australian nation to which history, their prior rights and interests, and their rich and diverse culture, fully entitle them to aspire.[11]. 5. Reynolds writes: Eddie Mabo (left) and . In 1981, Eddie Mabo made a speech at James Cook University in Queensland, where he explained his people's beliefs about the ownership and inheritance of land on Mer. Truth. When I looked over the lives of these two great Australians I was struck by the similarities of their struggles and the qualities they each . Legacy of Eddie Mabo. The Mabo case Records relating to the Mabo case About Eddie Mabo Edward Koiki Mabo was born on 29 June 1936. The words are carefully chosen to sit alongside each other withjust the right length and the right tone, each one setting up the other and chosen for both meaning and music. He told them of his dream of ending his days on Murray Island, on the ancestral land that had been handed down through his family for 15 generations. While working as a gardener at James Cook University, he found out through two historians that, by law, he and his family did not own their land on Mer. Finally, the remaining key theme of the meeting was the issue of our right as Indigenous peoples to development. The Murray Islands Mabo v Queensland (No 2) (commonly known as the Mabo case or simply Mabo) is a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia that recognised the existence of Native Title in Australia. Eddie Mabo and Gerard Brennan overturned the terra nullius policy and changed Australia forever. I have previously spoken at length about the importance of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which contains 46 articles on the rights that Indigenous peoples all around the world hold. Ten years before, Eddie Koiki Mabo and his comrades started the legal battle for the recognition of the Meriam people and the ownership of Mer Island. Our News 2006 Presentation by Professor Larissa Behrendt. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this site may contain names, images or voices of people who have passed away. To make agreements. Together yindyamarra winanghanha means to live with respect in a world worth living in. I have been honoured in the last six weeks by being asked to deliver both the Eddie Koiki Mabo Lecture here today and the Rob Riley Memorial Lecture on Friday the 8 th of May in Perth. The practical effects of Mabo have, indeed, been mixed, judging by figures from the Koori Mail, a national indigenous-owned newspaper. In 2008, a library at James Cook University was named after him. A while back I read a business management book by an American, Leon C. Megginson. That word is emblazoned still at the Aboriginal Tent Embassy on the lawns of the Old Parliament House in Canberra. I have heard it at dawn as the earth crackles, the river waters run, and the animals stir as the Sun peers above the hills and the light strikes the trees on my beloved Wiradjuri country. Transcript notes - MABO, Eddie, RICE, James v State of Queensland and Commonwealth of Australia, ITM1641344 We acknowledge Aboriginal People and Torres Strait Islander People as the first inhabitants of the nation, and acknowledge Traditional Custodians of the Australian lands where our staff and students live, learn and work. This is yet another reason why a development approach is so urgently needed. The new Prime Minister, Anthony Albanese, says there will be a referendum to enshrine a voice an Indigenous representative body in the Australian constitution. On 3 June 1992, six of the seven High Court judges upheld the claim and ruled that the lands of . We know sadness. However, most importantly of all, we are now faced with the challenge of how to make the most of our rights to land and native title once we have them, for our prosperity and sustainability. "I think that like many others, I was trying to deal with something that was new, that was undefined," Kennett told The Age newspaper. The man who had engineered the historic change of law, never lived to witness it himself. Words. "The golden house of is collapses. What's the least amount of exercise we can get away with? Their hard fought battle against the Queensland government finally consigned the lie of terra nullius to the historical dustbin and recognised the unique rights that we hold as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to our traditional land and waters. In some ways our systems of governance is a defining feature of the oldest living culture on this planet. His mother passed away shortly after his birth and he was adopted by his maternal Uncle and Aunt, Benny and Maiga Mabo in line with Islander . I walked into the news meeting at the ABC with words. A lawyer heard the speech and asked . A discussion of Mabo Day (June 3), which commemorates Torres Strait Islander activist Eddie Koiki Mabo and the historic Mabo decision, in which the High Court of Australia acknowledged Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' land rights. Another key challenge that came out of the roundtable was the need to improve the capacity of our mobs to have the necessary advocacy; governance and risk management skills to successful engage in business and manage our estates in order to secure the best possible outcomes for our communities. This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according to the common law from "time immemorial", and according to science more than 60,000 years ago. Those cases resulted in the acknowledgment that Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had the right to claim the land they and their ancestors had lived on for thousands of years. These skills will enable us to make better and informed decisions for maximum benefit and I look forward, as I am sure you do, to the release of IBAs investment principles, which they are currently developing in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations across the country. This effectively overturned the doctrine of terra nullius, which held that Australia didn't belong to anybody before European colonisation. When voices within democracies silenced and marginalised are demanding to be heard, we are bringing oursand challenging our democracy to examine itself and for our constitution to be seeded in the first footprints, not just the first settlers. Mr Mabo died in 1992 just months before his 10-year legal battle for native title rights proved successful. Suggested answer: While working as a grounds keeper at James Cook University in Townsville, Eddie learnt about Australian land ownership laws. Barrister Ron Castan, Eddie Mabo and barrister Bryan Keon-Cohen at . It is short for Mabo and others v Queensland (No 2) (1992). But that hasn't stopped indigenous people, like Queensland elder Douglas Bon, taking great satisfaction in the ruling. In conversations with Commissioner Wilson and others, we are in the midst of developing what the next step in this process should look like and we will continue to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples such as yourselves in order to do this. The justices spoke of a legacy of "unutterable shame"and that the dispossession of Indigenous people was the darkest aspect of Australia's history. Few Australians then knew the name Eddie Mabo. For many at JCU, the landmark legal decision has been rendered personal, as well as political and historic, because of Eddie's important association with JCU staff and students, and with our surrounding communities. [2] Australian Human Rights Commission, Paper on Indigenous Leaders Roundtable, Property Rights, p4. Several cabinet papers from the time of the Mabo decision reflect on its likely ramifications, including: The National Archives of Australia acknowledges the traditional owners and custodians of Country throughout Australia and acknowledges their continuing connection to land, sea and community. We leave base camp and start our trek across this vast country. At: http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/table-1-human-development-index-and-its-components#a (viewed 9 June 2015). There were three key components to this: As you will know, the first two of these three components have been implemented, with varying degrees of success and impact on our communities over the years. Unfortunately, the right to development is not a concept often thought about in relation to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as members of a developed country. [10] UN Development Programme, Human Development Index, UN Human Development Report, p237. (2010 lecture transcript). They can raise us to anger then soothe us. Thank you Russell for your kind words of introduction. However, whilst the right to development is about improvements in economic and material outcomes, it is also about our rights as Indigenous peoples to self-determination and our rights to control our natural wealth and resources. Eddie Mabo's heritage and culture were major influencers in his rise to prominence. And he knew truth. "If ever a system could be called a government of laws," he said, "it is shown in the evidence before me.". In-text: (Two generations talk about the impact of the 1967 Referendum and the 1992 Mabo Decision, 2019) Your Bibliography: Time Out Sydney. It is a feeling. Until Mabo, we had been a forgotten people, even though we knew that we were in the right.". He petitioned, campaigned, cajoled and questioned Terra Nullius for 18 years. We go on, he said, ever, ever, ever on. Eddie Mabo was a staff member at JCU, working as a groundsman from 1967 to 1971. He was a Meriam man and grew up on Mer, part of the Murray Island Group in the Torres Strait. Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders in Marine Science, Agriculture Technology and Adoption Centre, Association of Australian University Secretaries, Australian Quantum & Classical Transport Physics Group, Centre for Tropical Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology, Division of Tropical Environments and Societies, Foundation for Australian Literary Studies, IERC Administration and Centre Operations, Torres Strait Islander Research to Policy & Practice Hub, Meriba buay ngalpan wakaythoemamay (We come together to share our thinking), Knowledge Integration for Torres Strait Sustainability: Sey boey wara goeygil nabi yangukudupa, Office of the Vice Chancellor and President, Queensland Research Centre for Peripheral Vascular Disease, Contextual Science for Tropical Coastal Ecosystems, Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine, Recognition, national identity and our future. This achievement certainly encourages me. For the love of his family and tradition, he fights for his land on Murray Island. It was also a flagrant disregard of Britain's own existing laws, which stated that the Aboriginal people did have title rights over their own land. 2004 Presentation by Fr Frank Brennan SJ AO. The commitment to a land fund; and importantly, participation in decision-making underpinned by the concept of free, prior and informed consent and good faith. From 1973-1983 he established and became director of the Black Community School in Townsville. B12 of 1982 in the High Court of Australia). As a nation, this is an improvement from fourth position just over ten years ago in 2003.[10]. Eddie Mabo was a great hero to the Australian people. Eddie's daughter, Gail Mabo remembers that day well. I also acknowledge the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion who is here today and my colleague Tim Wilson, our Australian Human Rights Commissioner. 2008 Presentation by The Hon. Mabo vs Queensland possible Commonwealth interventions, 1991 (A14039, 7909), The Mabo Decision principles for a response, 1993 (A14217, 1042), Mabo responses to the outline of legislation, 1993 (A14217, 1322), Mabo collection at the National Library of Australia, Building trust in the public record policy, Getting started with information management. Another similarity is something that sometimes we do not acknowledge enough. British law was the law of the colony and usurped and superseded Aboriginal law. Mabo 20 years on: did it change the nation? OM95-26 Mabo Cutting Books 1990-1994 - (2 vols.) However, in the lead-up to these hearings, the Parliament of Queensland passed the Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act 1985, which asserted that, upon being annexed by the Queensland Government in 1879, 'the islands were vested in the Crown freed from all other rights, interests and claims'. 3. Business development support and succession planning. On 3 June 1992, the High Court of Australia ruled in favour of limited native title. the Aborigines did not give up their lands peacefully; they were killed or removed forcibly from the lands by United Kingdom forces or the European colonists in what amounted to attempted (and in Tasmania almost complete) genocide.". On 3 June 1992, six of seven Australian High Court judges ruled: The Meriam people are entitled as against the whole world to possession, occupation, use and enjoyment of the lands of the Murray Islands [in Torres Strait]. When democracy is teetering and autocracy is rising. I was no lawyerbut I knew I sensed this was different. 2. Financing economic development within the Indigenous estate. "For two centuries, the British and then white Australians operated under a fallacy, that somehow Aboriginal people did not exist or have land rights before the first settlers arrived in 1788.". Mabo rejected the more militant direct action tactics of the land rights movement, seeing the most important goal as being to destroy the legal justification for what he regarded as land theft. Love, kindness, forgiveness; always love. Across language itself. "It gave us back our pride. You may have heard that Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner and I recently co-convened a roundtable on Yawuru country on the issue of Indigenous property rights. Friends we are the First Peoples of this country and we are the oldest living culture in the world because of our ability to adapt to ever changing environments and circumstances. That permission was denied. This is our land. The remarkable life story of Eddie 'Koiki' Mabo; a Torres Strait Islander who left school at the age of 15, yet spearheaded the High Court challenge that overthrew the fiction of terra nullius. active, free and meaningful participation in development; self-determination and full sovereignty over natural wealth and resources. At http://hdr.undp.org/sites/default/files/reports/264/hdr_2003_en_complete.pdf (viewed 9 June 2015). You Murray Islanders have won that court case. The legal decision was made by the High Court on 3 June 1992. Eddie Koiki Mabo at Las, Murray Island, 1989 On 3 June 1992 the High Court of Australia recognised that a group of Torres Strait Islanders, led by Eddie Mabo, held ownership of Mer (Murray Island). According to accounts of the conversation, the two scholarly figures looked at each other and then, delicately, told Mabo that he didn't own the land and that it was Crown land. And in 1981, Eddie was invited by the same university to make a speech about Mer's land inheritance system. Mabo tells the story of one of Australia's national heroes - Eddie Koiki Mabo, the Torres Strait Islander man who left school at age 15, yet spearheaded the High Court challenge that overthrew the fiction of terra nullius. Yindyamarra winanghanha. Of invasion. Eddie Koiki Mabo (c. 29 June 1936 - 21 January 1992 [1]) was an Australian man from the Torres Strait Islands known for his role in campaigning for Indigenous land rights and for his role in a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia which overturned the legal doctrine of terra nullius ("land belonging to nobody") which characterised The National Archives holds a diverse array of records relating to the Mabo case. It is lament. . Searching for 'Mabo' in RecordSearch brings up many results, including the files below. Court cases in the mid-19th century challenged the idea of British settlement at the time the rulings were in favour of the Crown. First, they ask me to pass on their greetings and their thanks for allowing me on your lands. But 20 years after the judgement, there's still a debate among constitutionalists, lawyers and politicians about the legacy of Mabo. I'd also like to thank AIATSIS for the invitation to speak today and in doing that can I congratulate you Russell on receiving your recent Member of the Order of Australia award. And these were the costs borne by the whole family. Eddie Mabo was a staff member at JCU, working as a groundsman from 1967 to 1971.