Mabo Day occurs annually on 3 June. It commemorates Eddie Koiki Mabo (c. 29 June 1936–21 January 1992), 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. 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.
- Caldicott, Helen. "Eddie Mabo". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- "Mabo Day". Torres Strait Regional Authority. Archived from the original on 12 March 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
- "Calls for Mabo Day to be national holiday". Torres Strait Directory. Retrieved 15 March 2011.
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