Mabo Day

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Mabo Day occurs annually on 3 June. It commemorates Eddie Koiki Mabo (c. 29 June 1936–21 January 1992) [1][2] a Torres Strait Islander whose campaign for Indigenous land rights led to a landmark decision of the High Court of Australia that, on 3 June 1992, overturned the legal fiction of terra nullius which had characterised Australian law with regards to land and title since the voyage of James Cook in 1770.

In 2010 a campaign was launched to make it a national holiday in Australia[3] It has been suggested that Mabo Day is more significant to Australians than the Queen's Birthday (a national holiday in Australia), since it 'marks the day that non-indigenous Australians were given the opportunity to reverse the damage caused by the colonisation process'.[4] In 2002, on the tenth anniversary of the High Court decision, Mabo's widow, Bonita Mabo, called for a national public holiday on 3 June. On the eleventh anniversary, in 2003, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) launched a petition to make 3 June an Australian Public Holiday. Eddie Mabo Jnr, for the Mabo family, said:

We believe that a public holiday would be fitting to honour and recognise the contribution to the High Court decision of not only my father and his co-plaintiffs, James Rice, Father Dave Passi, Sam Passi and Celuia Salee, but also to acknowledge all Indigenous Australians who have empowered and inspired each other.

To date we have not had a public holiday that acknowledges Indigenous people and which recognises our contribution, achievements and survival in Australia.

A public holiday would be a celebration all Australians can share in with pride – a celebration of truth that unites Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and a celebration of justice that overturned the legal myth of terra nullius - Mabo symbolises truth and justice and is a cornerstone of Reconciliation.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Caldicott, Helen. "Eddie Mabo". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  2. ^ "Mabo Day". Torres Strait Regional Authority. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  3. ^ "Calls for Mabo Day to be national holiday". Torres Strait Directory. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  4. ^ "Mabo Day - 3 June". Indymedia Australia. Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  5. ^ http://www.takver.com/history/ph_maboday.htm