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Mabo Decision Of 1992 Essay

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The Mabo decision of 1992 was hailed as a landmark case in the history of indigenous-white relations in Australia. Overturning centuries of injustice, as well as the myth of right by ‘terra nullius’, the case prompted the passing of the Native Title Act of 1993, which affirmed native title and asserted that native Australians possessed their land under common law, and in doing so ushered in a new era of equality in Australian society. However, though correctly lauded as a milestone in recognition of aboriginals as valid legal entities, the act was not without its problems, and in truth has had little impact on Australian society as a whole. As we shall see, the trend of positive reform existent in the act was not supported in practice, and aboriginal Australians remain at the mercy of Western courts when it comes to their land. Though the Mabo decision and the subsequent Native Title Act went some way to correcting past injustices, its actual impact on Australian society has been negligible.
As a gesture of acceptance and egalitarianism, the Mabo decision and the Native Title Act that followed it was a big step forward for
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The Act does not allow for claims in all of Australia – only in areas that are currently unoccupied or have no clear ownership. Then there is the fact that any financial benefit gained by a successful claim is in large siphoned off to legal teams, meaning that aboriginal communities themselves don’t stand to profit.
Perhaps the best-known example of the Native Title Act failing to support those it purported to protect concerns the 1998 Yorta Yorta case. As one of the first legal challenges by native people following the passing of the act, the Yorta Yorta case was an opportunity to prove that things really had changed after Mabo. Sadly though, the failings of the legislation were brought into sharp focus, and the Yorta Yorta claim failed, under insufficient evidence to support uninterrupted connection to the
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