ABC1 TV, written by Sue Smith, directed by
starring Jimi Bani and Deborah Mailman,
90 mins, available on DVD, $19.99
The Mabo telemovie tells the story behind Australia’s best-known legal case. Billed as a ‘story of love, passion and justice’, it focuses on the personal life and political struggle of Eddie Koiki Mabo. It explores his relations with fellow Murray Islanders — in a case which divided Islanders as much as it did white Australia — with his European lawyers and advisers, in particular, Ron Castan, Bryan Keon-Cohen, Greg McIntyre, Henry Reynolds and Noel Loos, and with Patrick Killoran, the Queensland protector who held, and exercised, such arbitrary power over Koiki Mabo’s life. Most of all, though, it tells of his relationship with Bonita Mabo (played by Deborah Mailman), who bore the brunt of the child-rearing and family responsibilities for the many years her husband pursued his circuitous, often tortured and almost always financially-crippling path to justice in the courts.