Eddie Mabo and Gerard Brennan overturned the terra nullius coverage and altered Australia eternally

I like poetry. I like phrases.

I wish to start by honouring and quoting the phrases of the now late chief justice of the Excessive Courtroom of Australia, Sir Gerard Brennan, the phrases he wrote in his lead judgement within the Mabo case:

“The widespread regulation itself took from Indigenous inhabitants any proper to occupy their conventional land, uncovered them to deprivation of the spiritual, cultural and financial sustenance which the land gives, vested the land successfully within the management of the imperial authorities with none proper to compensation and made the Indigenous inhabitants intruders in their very own properties and mendicants for a spot to dwell. Judged by any civilised customary, such a regulation is unjust …”

The phrases are rigorously chosen to take a seat alongside one another with simply the appropriate size and the appropriate tone, every one organising the opposite and chosen for each that means and music. I like how the phrases create a rhythm.

They’ll increase us to anger — then soothe us. Love, kindness, forgiveness; all the time love.

Love, struggling, hope, justice and fact

Eddie Mabo knew about love too. He knew about struggling. He knew about hope and he knew about justice. And he knew fact.

The reality: This was his land. That is our land. It will all the time be our land.


And he was proper. As a lot as Australia’s regulation tried to inform him he was fallacious, he knew his regulation and he knew that even the regulation of Britain that had stolen this land needed to admit — lastly admit — what all of us knew, what Eddie Mabo knew.

This was not empty land. This was our land.


I like phrases. Phrases communicate throughout tongues. Throughout language itself.

Phrases like han. Han is Korean and it’s greater than a phrase. It’s a feeling. It’s lament. It’s unhappiness past the phrase unhappiness itself.