Mabo Case

1357 Words Sep 11th, 2012 6 Pages
Legal studies-Law Reform
Legal studies-Law Reform

The Australian Legal System response to the Mabo case has changed greatly ever since the first time it was introduced. Many different acts were introduced and/or amended as a result of this case. The effectiveness of the law and the law reform in protecting the rights of individual and society at large is demonstrated throughout this essay.
Eddie Koiki Mabo was born on Murray Island in 1936 and was an Indigenous Australian. In 1974, during a conversation with two academics, Mabo became aware to the fact that his family did not own their traditional lands and that it was, in law, owned by the Crown. The Queensland Government wanted to remove any doubt that the Meriam people had total
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The Mabo decision ended the idea of terra nullius in relation to Australia, when it recognised the Meriam people as the owners of the Murray Islands. It also opened the door for other Indigenous groups to be able to claim ownership of land that they could prove a continuous connection with. Unfortunately Eddie Mabo had died of cancer in February 1992, just 4 months before this historic high court ruling that would change Australian land law. The judgement was so historic because it completely overturned the idea of terra nullius and said that native title survived in many places, even though the land had been taken by the Crown. With Terra Nullius distinguished, it proved the point that Murray Islands first inhabitants were in fact the Meriam people.
With the Mabo case being successful many other cases came about for example Wik Peoples v. The State of Queensland (also known as the Wik Decision). It is a decision of the High Court of Australia in December 1996, regarding the right of access by the Wik peoples of Cape York Peninsula in North Queensland to Crown land held under pastoral leases for cattle grazing. The court decided (4 judges to 3) that the rights of indigenous people who can prove a connection to the land can coexist with the rights of the pastoralists, but where there is any inconsistency between the two, the rights of the pastoralist will prevail. In other words, pastoral leases do not automatically
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