Monday, January 02, 2017

Prime Minister Paul Keating on Mabo - Talk Back Radio - John Laws 1992

Anyone interested in Australia should watch this. The then Prime Minister Paul Keating taking live on air questions in 1993 about the so-called Mabo Decision (Mabo v Queensland (No 2)) that was made by the High Court in 1992. Keating fields questions on the John Laws radio show. He responds with intelligence and patience, while attempting to explain what had actually happened.
The Mabo decision should be considered historic as a legal decision on an international level as;
"The High Court held that the doctrine of terra nullius, which imported all laws of England to a new land, did not apply in circumstances where there were already inhabitants present - even if those inhabitants had been regarded at the time as "uncivilized". Consequently, the Court held that the rules of reception of English law that applied were not those applicable where the land was barren and unhabited, but rather the rules that applied where an existing people were settled."
Mabo was eventually curtailed by the Native Title Amendment Act 1998 introduced by the John Howard led Liberal Government. Since then there have been large Native Title claims granted but even they often contain lease hold clauses that allow for continued economic exploitation by non-Native, and more lately non-Australian, interests (e.g. the current Adani Mining Carmichael Coal venture is being made possible by the extinguishing of Native Title) . Furthermore, Native Title can be extinguished by state governments in Australia if claims are considered to be contrary to 'the national interest'. What is more 'in the national interest' than the people themselves, the majority of whom have long supported the recognition of Indigenous dispossession.

Mabo really was a missed opportunity. The results of the ultimate failure to work with the High Court decision (i.e. finally confirmed by the Native Title Amendment Act of 1998) and all the ideas and history it represented are still developing as potential impacts and consequences. Just the current Adani Mining Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project is one example of how unsustainable economic interests are being imposed on people (i.e. THE national interest) via the Native Title Amendment Act 1998. It has been 25 years this new year of 2017 since Mabo 2 and it remains in the interest of all Australians to implement the original High Court decision and overturn the 1998 Act, organise a national tribunal that represents the relevant actors and formulate a new Act that will bring about both sustainable development within Native Title Lands and the recognition of Indigenous Dispossession.

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