Four Corners: May 7

June 3rd marks 20 years since the High Court’s Mabo decision on native title and next week Four Corners looks behind the decision that threatened to divide a nation.

Liz Jackson reports on the impact of this historic judgement, the reaction it inspired and the inside story of the negotiations to create the law that would pave the way for Native Title. We hear from the power brokers who forced the nation to confront its history, and their critics.

Former High Court Chief Justice Sir Anthony Mason:
“I foresaw that the judgement would be controversial but as often happens you don’t actually foresee the extent of the controversy.”

Former President WA Liberal Party Bill Hassell:
“It was a sense of outrage. That the High Court, which is not elected by anybody, not accountable to anybody, had presumed to move into the legislative area to make a whole new law.”

Aboriginal negotiator, Mick Dodson:
“Certainly it was something different for the leadership, probably the first time when we had such a huge issue, being directly negotiated with the Prime Minister.”

Former Prime Minister Paul Keating:
“Well the biggest pressure came at the end. The greater body of the parliamentary caucus in the form of senior people in the cabinet wanted me to give it up towards the end… and I said you’ve got to be joking, you’ve got to be joking, but they weren’t joking. You know they didn’t think I could get it through.”

Monday 7th May at 8.30 pm on ABC1.

One Comment:

  1. Anyone who saw this and still thinks of Keating as some sort of genius or philanthropist, or any kind of altruistic spirit, has to be sadly delusional.

    Hewson got it about right when he accused him of being egotistical, and determined to be seen in history as the man who reconciled this Nation.

    Witness Keating grandstanding and posing, obfuscating when questioned, using every last drop of his political cunning to heap shit on his opponents and even upon those who try to question him.

    Note his use of superior political knowledge and experience to destroy average Australian callers to talk back radio; whenever a question was honestly put to him that he clearly did not want to grapple with, he quickly brands the caller a racist.

    Never a good Prime Minister, Keating was unsure which camp best suited him, President of the Republic of Australia, which he would have loved, or Dictator in a land of confused apathy, which I think he would have liked even more.

    Too bad for him he was stuck with first among equals, but thank goodness for the Nation that he was.

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