Mabo & Native Title
In 1985 the Queensland Government had passed the Queensland Coast Islands Declaratory Act, which declared that it was the intention of the 1879 Act of the same name to not only acquire sovereignty but also extinguish any other land rights in relation to the Torres Strait Islands.
Eddie Koiki Mabo commenced legal action on behalf of the Meriam people of the Murray Islands, arguing that they own the land and have always owned it. In the 1988 decision of Mabo the High Court held that the Queensland Act was invalid on the basis of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth). The case was remitted to the Supreme Court of Queensland for determination on the facts and in 1992 the High Court handed down the landmark decision of Mabo (No. 2).
Keep reading for more information on:
- The Background to Mabo
- The Rejection of Terra Nullius
- The Rejection of Absolute Beneficial Ownership
- The Outcome of Mabo and the Native Title Act
- After Mabo: The Case of Wik Peoples v Qld
This website is intended to provide some basic information on the law surrounding native title and property law in Australia. For more information, please contact an experienced Property Lawyer. This information should never be used as legal advice.