House debates

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Statements by Members

Mabo, Dr Bonita, AO

1:51 pm

Photo of Matt ThistlethwaiteMatt Thistlethwaite (Kingsford Smith, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Assistant Minister for Treasury) Share this | Hansard source

Along with all Australians I offer my deepest condolences to the Mabo family on the loss of Bonita Mabo AO. Ninety seconds here can't reflect the enormous achievement she made in her 75 years. Quite simply, Australia is a better place because of Bonita Mabo. A proud Malanbarra woman, she was indeed the mother of native title in this land and, with her husband, Eddie Koiki, put Australia on the road to reconciliation and, in doing so, overturned centuries-long unjust laws of terra nullius. That road was a long one, yet Mrs Mabo was a tireless fighter for the human rights of First Nations people. She was also an advocate for the recognition of South Sea Islanders. A passion for education saw Mrs Mabo start Australia's first Indigenous community school in 1972, where children were taught not only traditional learning techniques but their native Indigenous culture and language. A lifetime of service saw her recognised in 2013 with an Officer of the Order of Australia, but for Mrs Mabo there was still more work to do. Her dream was for a national holiday every year on 3 June, the day of the High Court Mabo judgement. She said it would be a day to unite and bring all Australians together. It's because of Mrs Mabo that that dream for reconciliation in our nation lives on. Vale, Bonita Mabo. (Time expired)


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