Senator Patrick Dodson will deliver this year's 2017 ANU Mabo Commemoration Oration at University House. The Mabo Commemoration Oration is being held to recognise the 25th anniversary of the Mabo ruling.
In June 1992, the High Court of Australia recognised that a group of Torres Strait Islanders, led by Eddie Mabo, held ownership of Mer (Murray Island). In acknowledging the traditional rights of the Meriam people to their land, the Court also held that native title existed for all Indigenous people. This landmark decision gave rise to important native title legislation the following year and rendered terra nullius a legal fiction.
Senator Patrick Dodson is a Yawuru man from Broome in Western Australia. He has dedicated his life work to being an advocate for constructive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples based on mutual respect, understanding and dialogue. He is a recipient of the Sydney International Peace prize.
Senator Dodson has extensive experience in Aboriginal Affairs, previously as Director of the Central and Kimberley Land Councils and as a Commissioner in the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. He also served as inaugural Chair of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation and as Co-Chair of the Expert Panel for Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.
Prior to his endorsement by the Australian Labor Party as a Western Australian Senator in March 2016, Senator Dodson was a member of the ANU Council and Co-Chair of the National Referendum Council.