Delivering on the grand bargain

It's time for unfinished business

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  • Published 20160202
  • ISBN: 978-1-925240-80-1
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

I AM PROUD to be an Aboriginal woman and a descendant of the Tagalaka clan from Croydon in North Queensland. My mother, Myrtle Rose Casey, once said to me, ‘Never forget where you have come from but you don’t have to go back there.’ She was talking about a time when we lived in shacks on the outskirts of Cairns. As I began writing the Mabo Oration to honour Eddie Koiki Mabo last year, I realised that many young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people may be aware of the High Court Mabo judgment in 1992, but not of the negotiated settlement that followed the judgment – what is known as the ‘grand bargain’. This lack of knowledge is of concern to me, especially since more than half of our population are children and young adults.

The history of the struggles and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our pursuit of equality and justice have been fought over two basic issues: the right to be equal Australian citizens and the right to assert our special status as the original owners of this land. Next year we will celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 referendum that enabled the Constitution to be amended so the Commonwealth could make laws for Aboriginal people and to delete section 127 which excluded Aboriginal people from being counted in the census.

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About the author

Dawn Casey

Dawn Casey PSM, FAHA is the former chairperson of the Indigenous Land Corporation and Indigenous Business Australia, and a former director of the Powerhouse...

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