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22 James Cook U. L. Rev. 1 (2016)

handle is hein.journals/jamcook22 and id is 1 raw text is: 









      THE   COMMON LAW AND THE PROTECTION OF RIGHTS, FREEDOMS AND
           PRIVILEGES: INSIGHTS FROM THE ALRC FREEDOMS INQUIRY

                              The  Mayo   Lecture  for 2016

                                   12 September   2016

                           Professor  Rosalind  Croucher  AM*


                                    I INTRODUCTION

I will begin with acknowledgements  -  and they are most important ones. The first is to the
traditional custodians of this land, paying my respect to the elders, past and present of the Bindal
and Wulgurukaba  People and to acknowledge Indigenous guests attending today.

The second is to honour the connection of JCU with Eddie Koiki Mabo. As I am a legal historian
and former teacher of property law, Eddie Mabo's story is dear to my heart. When a gardener at
JCU  in 1974, Eddie chatted about his land on Mer (Murray Island) with JCU academics Noel Loos
and Henry Reynolds. This conversation started a ball rolling that ended up, on 3 June 1992, in the
High  Court's decision in Mabo & Ors v Queensland  (No 2), upholding the continuity of Koiki
Mabo's  title to his land on Murray Island and with it, slaying the dragon of terra nullius. It was a
fortuitous - serendipitous - meeting, combining principle, passion and champions.

The third and most particular acknowledgement is to another champion, a woman of principle and
passion, Mrs Marylyn Eve Mayo  (nde Mason).

On  my office bookshelf is a tome entitled A Woman's Place - 100 years of Queensland Women
Lawyers, published in 2005. The cover highlighted in the suffragette colours of green, violet and
white (a mnemonic  of 'GVW'  -  give votes to women), I won the book in a silent auction at the
2006 conference of the International Association of Women Judges. Meeting in Sydney that year,
with the Hon Jane Matthews AC as the then President, I was delighted to participate in the planning
committee  for the event and then doubly honoured by the appointment as 'Rapporteur' for the
conference. A bonus was that this also gave me the chance to participate in the wonderful silent
auction, a highlight of each biennial conference, where each judicial officer brings an item reflective
of her home  country. I won two items: the wonderful book, signed by many of the subjects it
contains; and a 'toby jug' of Margaret Thatcher, from the House of Commons shop, the contribution
of Dame Brenda Hale, now Baroness Hale of Richmond, for which I engaged in a quiet bidding war
-  as befits a 'silent' auction - with a New Zealand judge. The proceeds of such auctions go to
supporting women  judges  from developing countries to attend future such conferences. I am
delighted to assist so positively in that worthy cause! (The exceptional provenance of my prize is
confirmed in Baroness Hale's signature on the box).

Marylyn  Mayo  was  a natural inclusion in the chapter in the Queensland book, titled 'Women
Lawyers  at the Frontier'. Among the group, there is a section dedicated to 'Women Lawyers in
Academia',  including a special group credited 'for giving inspiration to future generations of



President, Australian Law Reform Commission; Adjunct Professor of Law, Macquarie University; former Dean of Law at
Macquarie and Sydney Universities. The lecture was delivered at James Cook University on 12 September 2016.


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