...The financial pressures on Eddie Mabo...
'Eddie did face significant financial pressures over the ten years that this case was running for. He had on occasions great difficulty in travelling to Melbourne or Brisbane or Murray Island to look after the lawyers and assist them in the development of evidence and having conferences, in making decisions which he was central to being involved in, to getting the instructions of the community, to understanding the issue and allowing the lawyers to make a decision and move on.
He had to stay away from employment or leave employment sometimes to attend to these requirements. And there were many of them over a decade, an enormous amount of work went on at Eddie Mabo's level and at the community level, quite apart from at the level of the lawyers back in Melbourne. And I remember numerous occasions when he could not be at the island or could not be in Brisbane or Cairns because he didn't have any money to get there.... On other occasions, where he got to places through the benevolence or assistance of various family or friends, including attending the High Court in Canberra during the final full court hearing. He, I think, considered this case of such significance that he was prepared to subordinate his financial requirements, and the support of his family let it be said, in order to give first priority to the needs of his case. And I think that speaks volumes for his commitment.'
Keywords: employment, funding, Keon-Cohen, Bryan, Mabo Case, Mabo, Edward Koiki, plaintiffs
Interviewed by Trevor Graham, 1996.
© Film Australia
Source: Keon-Cohen, Bryan