20 July, 2024
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STATEMENT ON THIRTY YEARS ON FROM MABO

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Today marks the 30th anniversary of the historic Mabo decision, when the High Court of Australia handed down it’s decision to overturn the myth of terra nullius or ‘land belonging to no-one’, which Australia operated under for more than 200 years.

 

This decision recognised that Australia’s First Nation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples connection to Country and Culture is continuous and enduring.

 

This case was the cornerstone for Indigenous land rights and native title claims nation-wide.

 

NSW Labor celebrates this anniversary and the historic truth that the Mabo decision recognised. The Mabo decision was a momentous victory and we honour the legacy of Eddie Mabo today. We also note that this was just a first step in an ongoing journey of reconciliation.

 

NSW Labor also wish to Vale Gerard Brennan, the former High Court Chief Justice who wrote the lead judgement on the Mabo decision. We thank him for his contribution to making Australia a more truthful nation.

 

NSW Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty David Harris said:

 

‘The Mabo decision swept aside the false doctrine of terra nullius, or land belonging to no-one and recognised that not only has Aboriginal people existed on this continent but they still had a continuing right to ownership over many parts of the continent.

 

‘NSW Labor is committed to beginning a dialogue with First Nations People in this state to develop a process of Treaty or agreement making which will build on the NSW Aboriginal Land Right Act, self-determination and service delivery to improve outcomes for First Nation communities.

 

‘NSW Labor offer our condolences to the family of Gerard Brennan and thank him for his contribution to this historic decision in our nations history which was an important step in our journey towards reconciliation.

DAVID HARRIS MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS AND TREATY

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