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Eddie Mabo

            Eddie Mabo was a fighter for the land rights of Aboriginals. During the 70's, the Queensland Government denied the Meriam Islanders the use of their land. Eddies Mabo led his people into court challenging the Queensland Government in 1982. He stated that his people had inhabited the Island long before the European arrival.
             Eddie Mabo challenged the right of the Queensland Government to take away his peoples land. He lost his case in the Queensland Supreme Court, so he turned to the High Court of Australia. The High Court of Australia handed down its historic decision on the 3rd of June 1992. This was a tremendous victory for Eddie Mabo and his community.
             The Mabo decision is important to all Australians as it states that Indigenous Australians were the true owners of Australia. It also erased the fictitious "Terra Nullius". Many people thought that they will lose their land as a result of the trial but this is false. Aboriginals do not have the right to claim land that has already been purchased. Many Australians didn't realise this and many myths began to surface in society. People believed that they could lose their homes and that Aboriginals had the ability to purchase land for free. They also believed that natural resources might be claimed and a few believed that they didn't have the right to any land.
             The Mabo decision triggered the creation of the Native Title Bill. The bill set straight the details of the land ownership. The main feature of the law was to recognise land rights for people who own freehold property and also people with pastoral leases. For Aboriginals wanting to claim land under the act, have to prove that they have been living on the land continuously since 1788.
             The work done by Eddie Mabo and his supporters reunited many Aboriginals with their traditional land. He will forever be remembered and praised by many Australians. His work was a huge leap forward in Aboriginal conditions and hopefully; there will be more like him to help the Aboriginal community.

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