Aboriginal Rights

Essay by gundwingHigh School, 10th grade May 2006

download word file, 4 pages 3.7

The rights of the Australian Aborigines are an important and ongoing issue of Australia. The referendum of 1967 gave Aborigines rights that had been denied for almost 180 years, inclusion in the Australian census and the right to vote. That however, was only the beginning. Since that historic vote, many changes have occurred furthering the recognition of Aboriginal rights. The Mabo Decision including the Native Title Act in 1992/3, the Bringing Them Home report of 1997 and National Sorry Day on May 26 in 1998 are only some of these changes and all contributed in their own way to the recognition of Aboriginal rights since 1967. It is nonetheless clear that all of these changes have continued to build the bridge of understanding and acceptance between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.

The Mabo Decision of 1992 and the Native Title Act of 1993 are both of high significance to the recognition of Aboriginal rights in the twentieth century.

It ultimately recognised the spiritual and cultural ties that the Aborigines had with the land as well as allowing them the chance to reclaim acres of land that had been forcefully taken from them using the concept of 'terra nullius', a Latin term meaning 'the land belongs to no one'. This concept of 'terra nullius' was implemented since the beginning of British settlement however, the concept had one major flaw - the land of Australia did not belong to 'no one', it belonged to the Aborigines, who have lived here for hundreds maybe thousands of years before. The Mabo Case was first filed in 1982 to the Supreme Court of Queensland, who denied the native title. The case was then taken to the High Court of Australia, where it ruled in the 'Mabo and Others v The State of Queensland' case, by a...