Mabo: A Symbol of Sharing


Mabo: A Symbol of Sharing

Mabo: A Symbol of Sharing
By Sean Flood
Published by Fink Consultancy, 13/169 Liverpool St Sydney 2000
31pp $15
Reviewed by Barry Healy

Sean Flood, the New South Wales public defender, has self-published this book to explain the legal aspects of the Mabo decision in plain English and to weigh into the debate on the side of Aborigines. He has produced an attractive and well-argued introduction to the precedents and legal history of Mabo.

Flood observes that "from a white viewpoint, we can be very grateful that the black plaintiffs were prepared to litigate in the Australian court system and make the concessions which were made to the Court. We should also understand that in abiding by the decision, the plaintiffs now have fewer fights than they enjoyed prior to 1788."

He calls for legislation to extend the scope of Mabo and condemns the heritage of Australian racism. "This time around, beggar the mining companies and the pastoralists," he writes. "Give the traditional land owners a say over the land which they owned and preserved."

He hopes that a republican constitution will include provisions that recognise native land tenure and he expresses the belief that Paul Keating will defend the interests of Aborigines.

Flood's faith in the law and the honesty of the ALP is touching, but difficult to accept. He is strong when explaining the law but weak when delving into the social and political issues.

Still, he has produced a useful reference guide and the extremely attractive cover and internal illustrations compensate for the high cost of buying a self-published item.

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