Mabo Day

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

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.

Mabo Day is a gazetted bank holiday in Queensland. 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]


  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. ^