Skip Navigation
Online Bookstore Book Supplements Newsletter Subscription For Academics For Bookshops For Authors About Us JournalsHolt Prize
Mabo, Wik and Native Title

Mabo, Wik and Native Title

4th edition

By Peter Butt, Robert D Eagleson and Patricia Lane


A decade on from the decision in Mabo, this book remains a key mechanism for distinguishing between fact and myth among the claims and counter-claims which bedevil Australia's native title debate.

It provides an accurate, accessible and unbiased account of what the judges and the Acts of Parliament have actually said about native title, what it means and what problems are likely to arise.

Recognising that the High Court's 1993 ruling in Mabo remains the basic legal document on native title, this fourth edition retains the plain language version of the ruling as its core. There follow equally straightforward explanations of the Native Title Act 1993, the 1996 High Court judgment in Wik, and the Howard government's legislative response in 1998 with the "10 point plan". Finally, there are two completely new chapters on how the Native Title legislation has worked in practice, what important issues remain to be resolved and some possible future directions for solving them.


The Petition
The Ruling

Mabo: What the High Court Said

The Murray Islands and their people
The issues in the case
Terra nullius
Crown sovereignty and ownership of land
Native title and the law
Extinguishing native title
Fiduciary obligations
Protecting native title under the Racial Discrimination Act
Deed of grant in trust
The minority judgment
Common law and land titles: An overview
The ruling and final order

After Mabo

Native Title Act 1993 (Cth)
The Wik decision - 1996: What the High Court really decided
The government's response to the Wik decision - 1998
The Native Title Act in operation
Issues for the future


Makes a brilliant contribution must find its way into the homes and schools of all Australians so that all may understand the reasoning of the High Court and the clear legal and historical basis for the decision

Noel Pearson

an insight into the heart of one of the most significant changes in the nation's history

Paul Keating

This text is so easy to read and to understand that I'm glad I took the trouble. I now believe I know what the judgment really said ...

Journal of Australian Institute of Professional Communicators

Reviews of the first edition were extremely complimentary but I have no hesitation in saying that this update is even better.

Law Letter, Law Society of Tasmania

This book should be included as reading for everyone from high school students to politicians.

Alternative Law Journal

Aims to make the High Court's decision understandable to a wide audience, in simple English - and does so admirably.

The Canberra Times

Essential reading for Australian understanding of the Reconciliation process.

Aboriginal Education K-12 Resource Guide (2004), NSW Dept of Education & Training


Published April 2001
Publisher The Federation Press
ISBN 9781862873865
Australian RRP $25.00
currency converter

Out of print

Aboriginal Studies
Indigenous Studies
Law - Indigenous
Law - Property Law
Secondary School Resources

        BACK TO TOP