Tomorrow marks 28 years since the High Court of Australia handed down the landmark Mabo decision, bringing native title laws to Australia and marking a turning point for First Nations Queenslanders and their communities.
Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford said Mabo Day is an important part of National Reconciliation Week, a chance for all Queenslanders to reflect upon Eddie Mabo’s legacy, and inspiring us to take steps, whether large or small, to contribute to reconciliation in Australia.
“Mabo Day is held each year on 3 June to celebrate the landmark decision by the High Court to overturn the principle of ‘terra nullius’ and recognise at Common Law, Native Title rights.
“On this day in 1992, the High Court of Australia legally recognised the Meriam people as the Traditional Owners of Mer (Murray Island),” Mr Crawford said.
“Decades of advocacy by Eddie Mabo, Sam Passi, David Passi, Celuia Mapo Salee and James Rice, paved the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have their native title recognised under Australian law.
“Significant achievements such as this, contribute to the process of truth telling, as well as paving the path for current discussions like the Uluru Statement from the Heart and in Queensland, our important conversations about treaty,” he said.
Mr Crawford said as part of National Reconciliation Week 2020 (27 May—3 June), Queenslanders are celebrating Mabo Day in new and different ways through virtual commemorations would include livestreamed dialogues, performances and concerts.
“With social distancing in place due to COVID-19, events involving large groups of people gathering cannot be held, but many Queensland communities are hosting online Mabo Day celebrations,” he said.
“The Mabo decision continues to influence reconciliation including across tenure resolution and efforts to legally recognise cultural practices such as traditional Torres Strait Islander child rearing practices in law.
“I encourage all Queenslanders to join the ongoing reconciliation journey as we celebrate and build on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous peoples,” Mr Crawford said.