Queensland Government Media Releases

Premier pays tribute to the legacy of Eddie Mabo

June 03, 2017

Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Premier pays tribute to the legacy of Eddie Mabo

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has today paid tribute to the exceptional legacy of Queenslander Eddie Mabo, 25 years after the landmark High Court Mabo decision.

The Premier said 3 June was a significant day in Australia’s history.

“On this day in 1992, the High Court handed down the Mabo decision which ended the ten‑year legal battle for land rights justice,” she said.

“The leadership and vision of Eddie Mabo and the other claimants achieved something that many thought was impossible.

“After ten long years of legal action, the High Court of Australia recognised the Meriam People of the Torres Strait as having native title over part of their traditional land.

“Through Eddie Mabo’s dedication to justice, the case instigated change to the very foundation and definition of Australia land law.”

The Premier said the Mabo case was instrument in acknowledging the history of dispossession in Australia and overturning the legal fiction of ‘terra nullius’.

“The High Court’s landmark decision recognised the rights and unique connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to traditional lands,” she said.

“This not only changed the lives of many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders but it paved the way to the Federal Government passing the Native Title Act in 1993.

“It also put us all on a shared pathway towards reconciliation.”

The Premier said the Palaszczuk Government remained committed to supporting the resolution of native title claims.

“We are progressing the Cape York Peninsula Tenure resolution Program, with the view of Cape York Peninsula land to traditional owners,” she said.

“This is further to more than 3.5 million hectares of land already returned under this program.

“Eddie Mabo remains an icon for all Australians and I am incredibly proud that this strong and determined Queenslander has had such a lasting impact for our country.”

The Premier addressed a commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the High Court decision in Townsville yesterday.  Please find link to her speech https://www.dropbox.com/sh/uploxfqy7fgm0n5/AABYgpGd1Hf1sTcs9FjZIrBCa?dl=0