Australian PM makes historic visit to indigenous activist’s grave

Canberra, Aug 24 (IANS) Tony Abbott on Monday became the first Australian prime minister to visit the resting place of Indigenous land rights activist Eddie Koiki Mabo, the media reported.

Abbot visited the grave on Monday on Murray Island in the Torres Strait of northern Queensland state, ABC reported.

Abbott laid a wreath on Mabo’s grave. The activist died in 1992 just months before his 10-year legal battle for native title rights proved successful.

“This was a warrior, not simply a strong man physically, but a strong man culturally and spiritually, who decided that he would take on the legal establishment,” Abbott said.

“He would take on the previously settled view of Australian law, and good on him for having a go, and ultimately good on our system for being able to accommodate Eddie Mabo and the other plaintiffs’ cry for justice.”

The Meriam people of Murray Island danced the Malo Kap to commemorate Abbott’s arrival, a warrior dance reflecting the sacred rituals of the island.

The prime minister on his visit is being accompanied by Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister Alan Tudge and secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet Michael Thawley.

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