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The Mabo and Wik Decisions Importance to Australias Mineral Industry

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European scientific evidence is catching up without our traditional knowledge: the latest scientific findings of at least 60, 000 years of aboriginal occupation. We know it is even longer than that (1). This solidly invalidated the longtime belief of terra nullius (Forbes, qt. in Sharp 207) – an uninhabited territory, an empty land (Whitehouse-Strong 180), which not until the High Court’s decision on the Mabo case in 1993 had been the Australian Government’s basis in its treatment of the Aboriginal peoples, particularly on the issue over land ownership (Charlesworth 13).The English colonizers rationalized their declaration of Australia as terra nullius on the following grounds harshly discriminating and demeaning to the Aboriginal peoples: first, that Aboriginal peoples are not yet fully human (Russell 255) – that Australian aborigines are a relic of some primitive or infantile stage of human development, and that they are not capable of thinking at the same level as Europeans (Reynolds qt. in Charlesworth 15), thus were incapable and powerless to exercise sovereign authority (Russel 41) over their lands. second, that the Aboriginal people are ‘doomed to extinction’ so that as a distinct community they will eventually die out and be assimilated within the white community (Charlesworth 16). and third, that the Aboriginal people are basically nomadic which the English colonizers’ cultural ignorance of the Aborigines way of life misunderstood as the Aborigines’ lack of interest to own and exploit the land (Ibid).If we look in the past, actually the Aborigine people came first before the European that was in the 18th century. However, at that time the Aborigine people did not know what they had to do in having authority or power for the land.