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VCE Sociology. Unit 3 Area of Study 2 Australian Cultural Communities “The role of government in developing policies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in areas such as self-determination, housing, justice issues, land rights, reconciliation, education and health”. ATSI Peoples.

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Vce sociology

VCE Sociology

Unit 3 Area of Study 2

Australian Cultural Communities

“The role of government in developing policies with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in areas such as self-determination, housing, justice issues, land rights, reconciliation, education and health”

Atsi peoples
ATSI Peoples

  • There are clear disparities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Australia across all indicators of quality of life.

  • ATSI people generally experience lower standards of health, education, employment and housing.

  • ATSI people are over-represented in the criminal justice system and the care and protection systems nationally compared to non-Indigenous people.

Atsi peoples1
ATSI Peoples

  • In groups discuss causes of inequality between ATSI and non-ATSI people.

  • Link the causes to PEETS:

    • Political causes

    • Economic causes

    • Environmental causes

    • Technological causes

    • Social causes

Atsi peoples2
ATSI Peoples

  • Terra nullius:

    • From 1788, Australia was treated as a colony of settlement, not of conquest.

    • Indigenous land was taken over by British colonists on the premise that the land belonged to no-one (‘terra nullius’).

Atsi peoples3
ATSI Peoples

  • Assimilation policies:

    • In 1937, the Commonwealth Government decided Indigenous peoples ‘not of full blood’ should be absorbed or ‘assimilated’ into the wider population.

    • Some of the consequences of protection and assimilation policies included:

      • separate education for Indigenous children

      • town curfews

      • no social security (Centrelink)

      • lower wages

      • state guardianship of all Indigenous children

      • laws that segregated Indigenous peoples into separate living areas (mainly on special reserves outside towns or in remote areas)

Atsi peoples4
ATSI Peoples

  • Stolen Generation:

    • A major feature of the assimilation policy was stepping up the forcible removal of Indigenous children from their families and their placement in white institutions or foster homes.

    • The Stolen Generation refers to the generation of Indigenous children that were forcibly removed for most of the 1900s.

    • The Bringing them home Report estimates that between one third and one tenth of all Indigenous children were removed from their homes.

Atsi peoples5
ATSI Peoples

  • Referendum:

    • In May 1967, a Referendum was held to amend the Australian Constitution (sections 51 and 127) to allow Indigenous peoples to be included in the national census, and to give federal Parliament the power to make laws in relation to Indigenous peoples.

      • Special laws could be made in relation to the Aboriginal ‘race’ to benefit Indigenous peoples

      • Australia’s census begun counting Indigenous peoples

      • NOTE: Many states already granted Indigenous peoples the right to vote prior to the Referendum

Atsi peoples6
ATSI Peoples

  • Self-determination:

    • The UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples states ‘Indigenous peoples have the right to self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development’.

    • In practice, this means a government:

      • recognises Indigenous peoples distinct cultures and forms of social organisation, governance and decision making

      • transfers responsibility and power for decision-making to indigenous communities so they can make decisions in relation to issues that affect them

    • In the absence of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission ATSIC (1989-2004; closed due to corruption and Howard’s preference for self-management) there is currently no transparent or rigorous process (at a national level) that enables engagement with Indigenous peoples in determining Indigenous policy and priorities and holding governments accountable for their performance.

    • Consultations on a new body are occurring in 2008 and 2009.

Atsi peoples7
ATSI Peoples

  • Land rights and native title:

    • In 1976, the federal government passed land rights laws for Indigenous peoples in the Northern Territory.

    • Land was given to Indigenous peoples through legislation.

    • There are fundamental differences between land rights and native title.

      • Land rights are created by the Australian Government or State and Territory governments, and usually comprise a grant of freehold or perpetual lease title to Indigenous Australians.

      • In contrast, native title arises as a result of the recognition, under Australian common law, of Indigenous rights and interests according to traditional Indigenous laws and customs. It is not a grant or right created by governments.

Atsi peoples8
ATSI Peoples

  • Mutual obligation and CDEP:

    • In 1976, The Community Development Employment Projects (CDEP) scheme was developed as a response to remote Aboriginal communities' requests for local employment to be created, with a particular focus on community development.

    • The CDEP enables members of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander communities to exchange unemployment benefits for opportunities to undertake work and training in activities which are managed by a local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community organisation.

    • It is supported by influential Indigenous spokesperson Noel Pearson (who advocates for ‘reciprocity’).

Atsi peoples9
ATSI Peoples

  • Reconciliation:

    • Reconciliation is a process of improving, renewing or transforming relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people for the future.

    • In 1991 the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation was established. In 2000, the Council produced the Roadmap for Reconciliation and Reconciliation: Australia’s Challenge setting out the following priorities:

      • achieving economic independence

      • overcoming Indigenous disadvantage

      • recognising Indigenous rights

      • sustaining the reconciliation process

    • Reconciliation Australia took over from the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation in 2000.

Atsi peoples10
ATSI Peoples

  • Mabo:

    • In the 1992 Mabo decision, the High Court of Australia held that the notion of terra nullius (owned by no-one) should not have applied to Australia.

    • Because of this, the native title rights and interests of Indigenous peoples that existed prior to colonisation can be recognised today under Australian law.

    • It found that Indigenous peoples who have maintained a continuing connection with their land according to their traditions and customs may have their rights to land under traditional law recognised in Australian law.

Atsi peoples11
ATSI Peoples

  • Mutual obligation and SRA:

    • In 2003, Shared Responsibility Agreements (SRA) were introduced.

    • SRAs are agreements between governments and Indigenous communities. They are entirely voluntary and are developed where Indigenous people and communities decide they want to address specific priorities.

    • In return for discretionary benefits from government, communities make some specific commitments in order to achieve their identified goals. This does not interfere with the delivery of essential services or benefits available to all Australians.

    • The community decides the issues or priorities it wants to address, how it wants to address them and what it will do in return for government investment.

Atsi peoples12
ATSI Peoples

  • Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER):

    • On 21 June 2007 the Howard Government announced a ‘national emergency response to protect Aboriginal children in the Northern Territory from sexual abuse and family violence’.

    • Following the release of the Ampe Akelyernemane Meke Makarle: Little Children are Sacred Report, strict measures were introduced such as:

      • alcohol restrictions

      • quarantined welfare payments (how it could be spent)

      • linking welfare payments to school attendance

      • compulsory health checks for children

      • banning X-rated pornography

Atsi peoples13
ATSI Peoples

  • The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples:

    • On September 14 2007, the United Nations adopted the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

    • The Declaration set out how existing human rights apply to the situation of Indigenous peoples.

Atsi peoples14
ATSI Peoples

  • The Apology:

    • On February 13 2008 Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologised on behalf of all Australians for the laws and policies which afflicted pain, suffering and loss on the ‘Stolen Generations’ of Indigenous peoples.

    • The national Apology was a recommendation of the Bringing them home Report 1997.

Atsi peoples15
ATSI Peoples

  • Groups will be given an area to research then respond to the questions provided.

  • Each group will submit their responses and a class-set will be photocopied and distributed.

  • Answers can be found in Face the Facts.

  • The areas are:

    • Population

    • Health

    • Education

    • Employment

    • Safety

    • Justice

    • Housing

Population health
Population & Health

  • Population

    • How many people identified themselves as ‘Indigenous’ in the 2006 Census?

    • Where do the majority of Indigenous people live?

    • What percentage of the Indigenous population are aged under 25? What impact does this have?

  • Health

    • How different is the life expectancy for ATSI and non-ATSI people?

    • What are the major causes of death for ATSI peoples?

    • How do the major causes of death differ from non-ATSI?

    • Why do you think public expenditure on health services provided to ATSI peoples is 17% higher than that spent on non-ATSI?

Education employment
Education & Employment

  • Education

    • What are the differences in educational achievements between ATSI and non-ATSI people?

    • What impact does education have on disadvantage?

    • Why do you think public expenditure on ATSI-peoples is 18% higher per capita than for non-ATSI peoples aged 3-14 years?

  • Employment

    • What are some factors that limit the ability of ATSI peoples in gaining employment?

    • Why is there a disparity of $300 per week between the average weekly wage of an ATSI and non-ATSI person?

    • What is a Community Development Employment Projects program (CDEP)?

Safety justice
Safety & Justice

  • Safety

    • Provide some explanation for why ATSI children are nearly four times as likely as non-ATSI children to be the subject of child abuse or neglect.

    • Provide some solutions for reducing the 18.3% of ATSI women experiencing physical or threatened abuse in the past 12 months.

  • Justice

    • What strategies could be employed to address the issue of ATSI youth aged 10-17 years being 21 times more likely than non-ATSI youth to be detained in juvenile justice centres?

    • Why do you think the imprisonment rate for ATSI adults at June 2007 was approximately 13 times that for non-ATSI adults?


  • What are some factors that explain the disparity in overcrowding, home ownership, Internet access, sewerage services and homelessness between ATSI and non-ATSI peoples?

Nter dvd part 1

  • Watch the documentary on the NTER then read the related document (note: we watched a different documentary to the one the document refers to)

    • What circumstances led to the NTER being implemented?

    • How many ATSI communities were affected by the NTER?

    • Why did the NTER require exemption from the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) and Northern Territory anti-discrimination legislation?

Nter dvd part 2

  • Identify examples of each measure:

    • 1: Welfare reform and employment

    • 2: Law and order

    • 3: Enhancing education

    • 4: Supporting families

    • 5: Improving child and family health

    • 6: Housing and land reform

  • What change did Rudd make to the NTER?

  • How does the NTER sit in relation to the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples?

  • Which aspects of the NTER would you keep or change? Why?

The apology
The Apology

  • Was The Apology symbolic or practical?

  • Was the Closing the Gap campaign announced during The Apology symbolic or practical?

  • What exactly is the Closing the Gap campaign?

Atsi peoples16
ATSI Peoples

  • What was the policy

    • NTER

  • Who developed the policy

    • Howard/Liberal

  • When was it developed/applicable

    • 2007

  • Why was the policy developed

    • In response to the Little Children are Sacred Report – to protect children and make communities safe, and to create a better future for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory

  • How was the policy implemented

    • Top-down: promote law and order, reform welfare and improve employment opportunities; support families; improve child and family health; and reform housing and land

  • Where does the policy apply

    • 73 remote Northern Territory communities

* Use the template above to summarise three other contemporary government policies relating to ATSI peoples.

To do

  • Read the Bessant and Watts (2007) handouts for a comprehensive understanding of this topic.

  • Write definitions of the following terms in your glossary:

    • Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER)

    • The Apology