Definition of Mabo in English:



  • Used in reference to the 1992 ruling of the High Court of Australia that Aboriginal claims on land supersede Crown sovereignty and white settlement.

    ‘since Mabo, Australia effectively has two land tenure systems’
    • ‘Grumblers and critics about Mabo remain.’
    • ‘After Mabo, it became part of the common law of Australia that, in 1788, the indigenous Aboriginal inhabitants had developed a traditional system of property law known in the common law as native title.’
    • ‘The Mabo decision of the early 1990s had enormous ramifications and had a very great and lasting influence on debates about the rights of indigenous people within our community.’
    • ‘It is adopting the common law as demonstrated in Mabo.’
    • ‘What legislation was passed during this period, besides Mabo?’
    • ‘If one goes back to the common law cases, what all was changed in Mabo was that a different view was taken of a historical fact, and a historical error was corrected.’
    • ‘As he then Prime Minister, described it, the Mabo ruling by the High Court laid to rest the "bizarre conceit that this continent had no owners prior to the settlement of Europeans".’
    • ‘Mabo was the first case where the full bench of the High Court was asked to consider the common-law recognition of land rights.’
    • ‘Like all complex matters and processual moments in time, concerns and aspirations twelve years on from the Mabo decision vary markedly.’
    • ‘While the 1993 Act did not embrace entirely the findings embedded in Mabo, it nonetheless came close to symbolic and material recognition of Indigenous prior ownership of Australia.’


1990s: from the name of Eddie Mabo (1936–92), a principal claimant in a legal test case of 1992 that established tenure in relation to the Meriam people.