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Tent embassy shuns Mabo anniversary

THERE were mixed emotions among protesters marking the 20th anniversary of the Mabo decision at the Musgrave Park tent embassy in Brisbane yesterday.

For some it was a part of Aboriginal legal history, for others it was an anniversary to acknowledge but not to celebrate. And there were those who thought it was pointless.

The tent embassy in south Brisbane received an early visit from the high-profile Aboriginal activist Wayne ''Coco'' Wharton, who was on his way to Townsville for a conference to mark the anniversary of Mabo. The day then passed like any other for the inhabitants of the embassy, who call it the Yaggera Sovereign Aboriginal Embassy as they do not recognise the ''criminal'' name of Musgrave Park.

The embassy's communications project and resource officer, Chris Moreton, said the Mabo decision meant little to those in the tent embassy as they were not seeking validation or acceptance from the white community.

''We have had a state meeting and [Mabo] was definitely brought up; it is part of Aboriginal people, of this continent's legal history and it is something that is well supported through First Nation groups through the country, but it is definitely not the only answer to what our struggle has always been about,'' he said.

''There are many who don't support [Mabo]; that's what sovereign autonomy is about. We don't need it to be recognised in the illegal corrupt systems of laws that have no jurisdiction over this country in the first place.''