FIGHT FOR RIGHTS. The Aboriginal Story.
The Aboriginal Story
Many changes in Aboriginal rights and freedoms occurred in the 1960s and 1970s. In time the government introduced legislation and polices that promised to create opportunities for Aborigines, reduce discrimination in Australian society and remedy past wrongs.
What caused these changes?
Aborigines had already experienced decades of mistreatment at the hand of “white” Australians.
The policies introduced by the government failed to improve the quality of life of Aborigines.
These policies included…
These would later change to integration and self-determination.Why were Aborigines Protesting?
Dispossession at the hand of Dispossession occurred in 1788 with the arrival of British settlers. Aborigines’ link with the land was severed based on the concept of ‘terra nullius’. Given the significance of land in Aboriginal identity, this had enormous long term psychological affects. It also affected the Aborigines chances of survival and made them increasingly dependant on whites.
Protectionism at the hand of
Assimilation at the hand of
Assimilation also involved the at the hand of removal of Aboriginal children from their homes and families. This group of children is called The Stolen Generations.
Student-led protest which aimed to bring to the attention of the nation the discrimination faced by Aborigines in many country towns.
Activism led to a changes. whites, they were
In 1967, assimilation was refashioned into integration.
This occurred because assimilation was a failure.
The aim was to encourage Aborigines to become part of the community but retain aspects of their culture.
However this policy change still failed to take the wishes of the Aborigines into account.
By the 1970s, the government made a commitment to self-determination. This was based on the premise of self-management.
In 1990, ATSIC was set up to mange indigenous affairs.
However there remained a number of unresolved issues.Policy Changes in the 1960s and 1970s
What is an EMBASSY? whites, they were
In 1972, Aborigines confronted the issues of inequality and land rights by setting up an embassy on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra. Despite causing much controversy, Aborigines were proud of their embassy and it received international attention. The Aboriginal flag was also flown for the first time around this time.What can these pictures tell us about the Tent Embassy?
The Aboriginal Tent Embassy
In the 1970s, Eddie Mabo led a group of people from Mer Islands in The Torres Strait in a land claim against the Queensland state government. The case ended up in the High Court where the concept of Terra Nullius was challenged.
The case took 10 years but in the end the High Court rules that the indigenous people were entitled to possession, occupation, enjoyment and use of the islands.
The decision was important because it recognised that the descendants of peoples living in Australia, long before white settlement, still had a claim to ownership of the land.
Terra Nullius was now fiction!
The Wik Decision was similarly important.
Cartoonist‘s take on the Native Title Amendment Act, 1993.
Sorry Day 1998
Aborigines are more likely… regarding land rights and in some cases, returned land to the indigenous owners, eg. Uluru.
To die young
Dropout of school
To be arrested
To suffer serious health problems, especially alcoholism
And less likely to…
Get a university degree
To get a job
Own a home
Earn the same wage as a White Australian
Self-determination looks good on paper but few could argue that it has made Aborigines equal to white Australians. There is a constant need to address the social disadvantages experienced by Aborigines. The statistics are horrifying…
Protests at Parliament House in Canberra over Aboriginal Deaths in Custody