Historical suppression of Indigenous Australians and responses to this suppression
Changing Policies: Why? • Government policies towards Indigenous Australians were initially in response to prevailing ideas of racial stereotypes, economic needs for land and resources and political pragmatism. • These policies changed over time as a result of internal social activism by Indigenous Australians and the pressure of changing ideologies such as Human and civil liberties.
History • When Britain colonised North America and New Zealand the prior occupation of the land by indigenous peoples was recognised. Treaties were signed with these peoples, even if they were very one-sided. This did not happen with Australia’s Aboriginal people. • From the very beginning the British had declared the land ‘Terra Nullius’ (no man’s land). This was legal as in the 18th Century it was widely thought that if land was found that did not belong to anyone it could be taken and claimed. Captain Cook declared it so in 1770 when he first made sight of Australia. "The Conciliation" - painting by Benjamin Duterrau, 1840
Paternalism • Throughout the 19th century white settlers gradually moved the Aboriginal people off their land and into reserves. The indigenous people were forced to experience dispossession and paternalism. In strictly legal terms they did not exist. • Paternalism is the practice of acting like a father, treating someone like a child, making decisions for them without allowing them responsibility. • The reserves were established to remedy the initial dispossession of land, as each colony passed laws most Aboriginals became wards of the state. • It was not long before more land was needed for farming and these reserves were taken back by the government. By the late 1920s nearly all were in the hands of lease holders.
Overview of Policy changes • Protectionism 1886-1950s • Assimilation1950s-60s • Integration1965 • Self Determination1972 • Multiculturalism • Reconciliation
1. Protection 1880s – 1950s • Aborigines were treated legally as minors. • The chief protector of aborigines in each state was their guardian. • He was responsible for their health, welfare and education. Aboriginal people could not move house, travel, marry, or get a job without official approval. Under this policy Aboriginal people were kept on reserves. Some of these reserves had really bad living conditions. • Under the protection policy ''half caste'' children were removed from their Aboriginal mothers to be brought up in the white community. This policy lasted until the 1950's. Representation of White Attitudes prevailing at this time (Rabbit Proof Fence) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eWjGteDg9VE
Protectionism: State Acts • Victoria 1886 • Queensland 1897 • Western Australia 1905 • New South Wales 1909 • South Australia 1911
Protectionism: Victoria • In 1886 the Victorian Aborigines Protection Board was set up. Its aim, taken here from a parliamentary report, was • “A: to civilise, Christianise and above all train Aborigines on stations established for the purpose; B: to remove as many children as possible from their 'bad' environment and parental 'influence' to training homes and thence to 'situations' [work] with white families; “
Training to be white… Wallagra, Kinchela, Cootamundra…
Indigenous Responses to Protectionism Indigenous Women at Coranderrk 1880 Coranderrk Aboriginal Reserve in Victoria became a site of Aboriginal activism and the Coranderrk people gained a reputation amongst white authorities as 'trouble-makers' because they continually defended their rights through strikes, deputations and petitions. Women were active in several of the campaigns, including strikes and walk-off.
Moving toward Assimilation…‘Dog Tags’ From the 1940s State governments decided to give citizenship rights to some Aboriginal people under certain conditions. They had to promise to give up their traditional ways, to keep away from other Aboriginal people, to live a European lifestyle and to keep out of trouble. Certificates were then issued which allowed them to vote, to go into hotels, allowed their children to go to school, and removed them from the restrictions of State protection laws. Legally these certificates meant that the people who had them were no longer Aboriginal. In Western Australia these were called Citizenship Certificates, in NSW and Queensland they were called Exemption Certificates. These certificates could be suspended or cancelled by a magistrate and there was no right of appeal. Many Aboriginal people resented these certificates and called them "dog licences" or "dog tags". Of the 14,000 Aboriginal people eligible in NSW only 1,500 chose to apply.
2. Assimilation: 1950s - 1968 • In the1950s and 1960's Aborigines had to become socially and culturally white. This was because the government wanted only one Australian culture. • It was hoped that by adopting mainstream culture, Aboriginal people would become completely absorbed into white culture. • This policy was also applied to the migrants. • Children were still taken form their parents during this time.
Indigenous Responses to Assimilation… Freedom Rides raised awareness of Indigenous Civil Rights across Australia. The Civil Rights Movement in the US (left) helped to inspire these protests…
Even with Assimilation, stereotypes of Indigenous Australians still persisted…
3. Integration: 1968 • The 1967 referendum brought about a change and Aboriginal culture was recognised. Aborigines were expected to live like white people but maintain some of their traditional practices. This policy lasted until the Whitlam years. • Children continued to be taken from their mothers. This advertisement was for the 1967 Referendum. What the 1967 referendum was about… 1. The 1967 Referendum proposed to include Aboriginal people in the census. 2. The 1967 Referendum proposed to allow the Commonwealth government to make laws for Aboriginal people. Gary Williams on the 1967 referendum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-vX5kNpyLU Faith on the 1967 referendum http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzIMVo-_hag
4. Self Determination: 1972 • Under the Whitlam government, Aboriginal communities were expected to govern themselves and decide how their communities would operate. • Government funding was made available to support Aboriginal communities whilst becoming independent. • Organisations such as ATSIC (Aboriginal Torres Strait Islanders Commission) were developed to support these policies. Gough Whitlam’s speech… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdpVBHxpArI
National and international factors that have supported and/or limited the increasing public awareness and perception of Australian Indigenous culture
Reconciliation • Reconciliation refers to ‘coming together’. As an Australian Government policyit aims to achieve justice, recognition and healing. • It acknowledges past injustices. • It recognises Indigenous Australians as the FIRST AUSTRALIANS. • Reconciliation can be seen in two ways: • SYMBOLIC (social justice – Eg. Sorry speech) • PRACTICAL (services – Eg. ‘Close the Gap’ program)
Excerpt of speech… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhqAFLud228 Redfern Park Speech: WHO IS TO BLAME? • This speech was given by Labor Prime Minister, Paul Keating, on the 10th December 1992. • It was about placing Reconciliation at the on the national agenda and recognised past injustices... • “The starting point for overcoming the problems besetting the first Australians was an act of recognition. Recognition that it was we who did the dispossessing. We took the traditional land and smashed the traditional way of life. We brought the diseases. We brought the alcohol. We committed the murders. We took the children from their mothers. We practiced discrimination and exclusion. It was our ignorance and our prejudice, and our failure to imagine these things being done to us.”
NT Intervention • Introduced by the Howard Liberal Government in 2007 as the Northern Territory Emergency Response (NTER) • In response to findings in the Little Children are Sacred report • Addressed the report’s concerns about sexual abuse and neglect of Indigenous children and argued that action be immediate • NTER included a range of policies including income management, health checks, ban on alcohol and pornography, quarantining 50% of welfare payments… • Continues in a revised form under Rudd/Gillard government. Witness: NT Intervention (48 mins) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VEgiX2NPx40
Debate On John Howard’s Intervention Policy in Northern Territory “You know, the whole aim here is not to condemn people for their problems. The whole aim is to support them, to get back on their feet again and to take charge of their own families again” Noel Pearson – 7.30 Report 19.06.07 Fred Chaney, in his 2007 Vincent Lingiari Lecture (2007). Indigenous people will be subject to a level of micromanagement that is unprecedented elsewhere in Australian society. Chaney highlights the suspension of the provisions of the 1975 Racial Discrimination Act and the interference in Indigenous property rights as being of particular concern. He highlights how the lack of meaningful consultation has almost guaranteed that there will be resistance (both passive and active) to the implementation of the policy.
Main criticisms of the Intervention… • The intervention in the Northern Territory has come under fire by a variety of groups. In short, the main criticisms of the intervention are as follows: • The intervention has created chaos, increased poverty and racism. • The intervention has not uncovered any paedophilia rings and no child sexual abuse cases have been prosecuted.. • Only 2 of the 97 recommendations in the Little Children Are Sacred report were implemented • In order for the Federal government to implement the Northern Territory Emergency Response, suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 was required making it legal to force communities to sign over control of Aboriginal land in 5 year leases, prohibit alcohol consumption and distribution in Aboriginal communities, control spending patterns through income management and store cards and take-over Aboriginal service-providers. • The United Nations has expressed concern over the suspension of the Racial Discrimination Act, writing to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in March 2009 following a complaint made to the UN by a collective of Aboriginal communities…
UN's intervention report finds racial discrimination Updated Wed Feb 24, 2010 1:33pm AEDT Australia will face the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva in September accused of racially discriminating against Indigenous communities during the Northern Territory intervention. The final report of the UN's special rapporteur on Indigenous rights, Professor James Anaya, found the intervention limits the rights and freedoms of Indigenous people in breach of Australia's international obligations. It follows similar preliminary findings during a visit to Australia last year. The report does not discuss the Federal Government's planned changes to the intervention because they are not yet complete. Professor Anaya says there is little evidence that measures such as welfare quarantining actually work, and he welcomes planned changes.
Watch the Apology on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF37rJHi4MQ The 2008 Apology • Given on 13 February 2008 by Labor Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. • A formally apology acknowledging the past injustices committed against Indigenous Australians, • In particular, it recognised the ‘stolen generations’, in response to findings in the Bringing them Home report. ”We apologise for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country. For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry.”
UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples • In 2007, the United Nations adopted the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples • Australian Indigenous Peoples were involved in creating it • It is an important international step in protecting human rights when it comes to Indigenous People worldwide. IN SUMMARY, IT INCLUDED POINTS ON THE FOLLOWING: • Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control
UN Declaration continued… • Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation of sovereignty. • All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against any incitement to such discrimination
Bibliography • TEXT • Gontier, F. 2012. VCE Sociology Units 3 and 4 Textbook. SEV. • WEB • www.picnicpt-h.schools.nsw.edu.au/.../ Government%20policies%20towards%20Aborigines.ppt • http://www.artistwd.com/joyzine/australia/strine/a-2.php • http://daownunder.wordpress.com/2008/02/15/closing-the-gap • http://www.greenleft.org.au/1998/339/20020 • http://indigenousrights.net.au/document.asp?iID=263 • http://www.mabonativetitle.com/info/austAbProgressiveAssoc.htm • http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/essays/essay_15.html • http://www.abc.net.au/civics/democracy/struggle.htm • http://www.seagp.org.au/documents/AboutUs/CloseTheGapTreePlanting.jpg • http://socialistalliance-brisbane.blogspot.com.au/2010/12/lies-that-built-northern-territory.html • www.mrsgraham.net/ Chaning%20Government%20policies%20on%20Aboriginals%20PP.ppt • http://cdn.lankajournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/John_Howard.jpg • independentaustralia.net