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I have spent the last five years studying Australian law, of which a large part has been devoted to examining the Mabo and subsequent native title decisions from both a property law and a constitutional perspective. On the 20th anniversary of the Mabo (No. 2) decision an Irish professor of psychiatry took it upon himself to explain to me the implications of the judgment: apparently I ought to be more sympathetic to the reactions of “ordinary people” and radio shock jocks at the time, because the decision actually meant that Aboriginal people really could take back the freehold, occupied homes of white people all over Australia.

I wasn’t quite sure which part of the assertion to address first - its factual inaccuracy, its baselessness, its sexist hubris? Eventually I observed, “You do like to tell me about things that I know a lot more about than you do.” ┬áHe didn’t see the problem.

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