Australian Indigenous Rights Essay Essay

essay B

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Aboriginal civil rights have been a extremely debated subject in Australia for the past century. From the 1920’s to the constitutional referendum in 1967 many events occurred that shaped the promotion of Aboriginal rights. The sheer volume of important events during this clip period are excessively great to edify on all of them so I will take to touch on the rights of Aboriginal people before this clip period. the foundation of Aboriginal political activism. the Day of Mourning and the Cummeragunja walk off. International force per unit area against Australia. and the 1967 referendum.

It was non until the late 1930’s and 1940’s that truly caused the Aboriginal rights motion to truly billow with the combination of international force per unit area on the Australian authorities grouped with Aboriginal political activism during this clip period. In order to acquire an apprehension of the advancement of Aboriginal Rights from the 1920’s all the manner to the 1967 Referendum we must look at the Aboriginal Rights before this clip frame.

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia came into consequence in 1901 officially doing Natives a “state responsibility” ( Prentis. 2008 ) . The fundamental law came into consequence during a clip period where Aborigines had no political power and were basically excluded from deriving Australian citizenship ( Chesterman. 1997 ) . There were two subdivisions of the Constitution that lead to great argument and the changeless battle for the promotion of Aboriginal rights for the following 70 old ages.

Sections 51 of the Constitution states “The Parliament shall subject to this Constitution. have power to do Torahs for the peace. order. and good authorities of the Commonwealth with regard to… ( twenty-six ) The people of any race. other than the Aboriginal race in any State. for whom it is deemed necessary to do particular laws” ( Attwood. 2007 ) . Many. including Chesterman. have considered this subdivision of the Constitution to except people of the Aboriginal race sing Torahs. However looking deeper this policy was chiefly focused on covering with “alien races” instead than the native races.

The confusion that arose from this subdivision was the reading by the States that were authorized control over Aboriginal personal businesss in the given State. Section 127 of the Constitution intentionally states that Aboriginal indigens shall non be counted in the population of Australia. This subdivision of the Constitution should uncover a glowing issue with racist positions of Australian’s during this clip period. With these two subdivisions being written and put into consequence in 1901 the Commonwealth was efficaciously rejecting citizenship rights to Natives.

Aborigines’ rights were even further diminished when in 1902 the Commonwealth introduced the Franchise Act. The Franchise Act of 1902 declared. “No Aboriginal indigen of Australia. Asia. Africa or the Islands of the Pacific except New Zealand. shall be entitled to hold his name placed on an electoral axial rotation. unless so entitled under Section 41 of the Constitution” ( Attwood. 2007 ) . The racial political relations happening during this clip efficaciously barred Aboriginal people from voting.

The Commonwealth Franchise Act of 1902 ended up disenfranchising Aboriginal people for about 60 old ages. With the 1920’s we start to see formation of political groups that speak out for Aboriginal rights. The Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association was formed in 1925. lead by Fred Maynard. The AAPA was one of the first Aboriginal political organisations formed in the 1920’s. The purposes of the organisation set a case in point for other Aboriginal protest groups and talk out against the political subjugation Aboriginal people faced ( Maynard. 1997 ) .

Although the group did non last for an extended period of clip the foundation they laid for political activism played a important function in the promotion of Aboriginal rights. Very early on the AAPA petitioned the Protection Board on civil rights and land rights. Fred Maynard and the AAPA lead the run for “Aborigines to be to the full assimilated and left in control of their children” ( Flood. 2006 ) . The chief importance of this group was basically being one of the first Aboriginal political organisations to organize to take action against province and federal statute law in Australia.

During the 1920’s and 1930’s Australia began to see a rise in political activism among the Aboriginal people. During this clip period Australia saw Aboriginal political organisations being “founded in New South Wales. Western Australia. Victoria. and South Australia: the AAPA. The Native Union. the AAL. the Australian Aborigines Association ( AAA ) . the Euralian Association. and the Aborigines Progressive Association ( APA ) ” ( Attwood. 1999 ) . All of these political organisations fought for similar rights for

Aboriginal people. but they were all fought on local degrees. The two organisations that were slightly successful at going national organisations and stand foring Natives throughout Australia were the Australian Aborigines League and the Aborigines Progressive Association. Both groups fought for similar causes. These two groups although recommending for policy alteration in different parts of Australia worked together and organized two important events that occurred during the 1930’s.

Arthur Burdeu was considered the Godhead of the Australian Aborigines League. which formed in the 1930’s. The major significance that lead to the AAL going a national organisation instead than a local organisation was set in how the members viewed the function of the League. Arthur Burdeu stated that the AAL represented “the Aboriginal job from the dark man’s point of view” ( Attwood. 2004 ) . William Cooper stated that the AAL was “the Dark Man’s ain ameliorating attempt for his ain race” ( Attwood. 2004 ) .

Both these work forces were important figures in the Australian Aborigines League and were implementing the position among their organisation that it was their. Aborigines. battle and organisation and used this as a manner to talk out for the Aboriginal population of Australia. Jack Patten. William Ferguson. and Pearl Gibbs founded the Aborigines Progressive Association in the late 1930’s. The APA’s focal point was aimed at “citizenship for Aborigines and assimilation into white society” ( Broome. 1982 ) .

However Broome would subsequently travel on to observe that assimilation during the late 1930’s was met with racism as it was seen as a extremist policy because most white Australian’s still believed the impression that Aborigines would finally decease out. The APA was most notably remembered for their function in the organisation of the Day of Mourning in 1938 ( Prentis. 2008 ) . As antecedently noted these two groups. the Australian Aborigines League and the Aborigines Progressive Association were the two most outstanding and influential Aboriginal political groups to be formed during this clip period.

“These groups relied on chiefly on conventional involvement group tactics: meeting with province and federal functionaries to present grudges. requests to the Crown. and presentations to authorities organized conferences on Aboriginal issues” ( Gurr. 1983 ) . These two groups were important in voicing the way of what Aboriginal people expected from the authorities sing civil rights and this could non hold been any clearer than the Day of Mourning protests in 1938.

The Australian Aborigines League and the Aborigines Progressive Association organized the Day of Mourning Protests in 1938. The chief intent of this protest was to voice to the authorities the glowering issues of Australia’s yesteryear and to derive rights other Australian’s have been entitled to for old ages. “The pronunciamento heralded a different. more extremist spirit of protest” ( Alexander. 1997 ) which was needed to trip the public’s consciousness of the exclusion that was taking topographic point.

The two organisation leaders detailed the political docket and argued that many Autochthonal people were civilized and should be entitled to full citizen rights. “We ask for equal instruction. equal chance. equal rewards. equal rights to possess belongings. or to be our ain Masterss – in two words: equal citizenship! ” ( Patten. 1938 ) . In response to the new 1939 Child Welfare Act that stated that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal kids could be removed from their households for being unmanageable every bit good as for being neglected ( Chesterman. 1997 ) .

The APA and AAL besides organized the 2nd Major event. In 1939 the Cumeragunja walk-off was a symbol of direct action of Aboriginal people in response to the declining on the job conditions and uninterrupted disregard to alter policy. The new director of the station in Cummeragunja was Arthur McQuiggan. Known to be a rough dictator. occupants complained and “Cooper and Patten drew up a request to the Board seeking McQuiggans removal” ( Attwood. 2004 ) . However the request was sent back and the grudge was ignored.

This disregard to move caused the occupants to take farther actions and present a walk off ; traversing the Murray River and bivouacing on the riverside ( Attwood. 2004 ) . Both the Australian Aborigines League and the Aborigines Progressive Association did an first-class occupation in recommending for Aboriginal rights. Now holding said that it does non needfully intend that all of their actions. such as the Day of Mourning and the Cummeragunja walk off lead to immediate and highly influential statute law alterations.

Yes both of these events during the late 1930’s brought national consciousness to the Aborigines struggle and “influenced public sentiment but the Second World War destroyed its impulse ( Flood. 2006 ) . Although the Cummeragunja “walk off. the APA’s propaganda attempts and a cursing study by the Public Service Board. led to the passing of the New South Wales Aborigines Welfare Act in 1940 which established assimilation as its official policy” ( Broome. 1982 ) it took about 10 old ages for the act to really go effectual.

It was non until the 1960’s when we start to see Aboriginal political activism organisations successfully implementing influential alteration among Acts of the Apostless and statute law. International force per unit areas besides played a important function in helping the promotion of Aboriginal civil rights. In 1945 the United Nations was formed and Australia was one of the original members. In 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was agree upon by the UN. In this declaration of human rights there are legion articles that Australian States have been go againsting from the 1900’s to the 1950’s.

Articles 1. 3. 7. 9. and 13 spookily address issues that had been happening in Australia for decennaries. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declared. “people should non be discriminated against on the footing of race” ( Chesterman. 2001 ) . The one major mistake with the Declaration of Human Rights was that it had no legal power so enforceability was a serious issue in the early phases of the declaration. “Australian activity has involved support for the constitution and strengthening of national human rights establishments in other countries” ( Barker. 1997 ) .

The inquiry that arouse was how could a state involved with human rights internationally have so much problem with implementing human rights domestically? The United Nations was a forum to “air affairs of race and racism” ( Attwood. 2007 ) and establishes cosmopolitan human rights. Australia was having negative international imperativeness for the current inquiries around civil rights for Aboriginal people. The international attending brought to illume the job that “responsibility for Aboriginal personal businesss mostly lay in the custodies of the provinces and non the Commonwealth” ( Attwood. 2007 ) .

In a 1951 paper Henry Wardlaw outlined the hopes of Aborigines for execution of the UN Declaration of Human Rights. Wardlaw wrote “the dainty ment of the natives in Australia has laid the Australian Government open to justifiable charges of lip service when its representatives have charged the Governments of other states with striping their topics of simple human rights. We would therefore urge upon you that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. to which the Australian representative at the United Nations has set his name. should be taken as the footing for the necessary reforms in the intervention of the natives.

” ( Wardlaw 1951 ) . Once the civil rights issues of Aboriginal people gained international attending Aboriginal political activism groups became more effectual in bestiring alteration in statute law. In 1959 when the Commonwealth enabled all Natives who were non mobile or crude to societal security statute law such as. “maternity allowance. widows’ pensions. and old-age and invalid pensions” ( Chesterman. 2001 ) alterations were important for Autochthonal people.

Chesterman so goes on to observe that “by the late fiftiess. as international tolerance of state-endorsed racial favoritism was declining. the anteroom groups were able to hold a great impact. and so they themselves responded by going more active. ” With the aid of the international limelight doing the Aboriginal rights in Australia more prevailing internationally. Aboriginal political organisations were able to use more influence on the Commonwealth for policy alteration.

The 1948 Nationality and Citizenship Act. by which all individuals born in Australia were deemed citizens of Australia ( Rowse. 2000 ) was non effectual due to the “distinct separation between the acquisition of Australian nationality…and the limitations on personal rights that existed at Commonwealth and State levels” ( Chesterman. 1997 ) . The demand for federal inadvertence sing Aboriginal issues was highly prevailing due to the complications with federal statute law and State statute law.

With international and domestic force per unit area edifice in the 1960’s we start to see the Commonwealth doing serious paces toward rectifying failed statute law of the yesteryear. In 1962 the Commonwealth amended its Franchise Act. which permitted all grownup Autochthonal people to vote in Commonwealth elections. “The Commonwealth parliament’s enfranchisement of Aborigines was…the first clip an Australian parliament had specifically acted to affranchise Natives without restriction” ( Chesterman. 1997 ) .

Finally after old ages of international force per unit area and embarrassment integrated with Aboriginal political organisations were rights of Aboriginal successfully affected. The 1967 Constitutional Referendum was and is considered by many as one of the most important event in the promotion of Aboriginal civil rights. The 1967 referendum amended subdivisions 51 and 127 of the fundamental law and was to do the Federal Government. instead than racialist and inattentive province authoritiess. be responsible for managing Aboriginal personal businesss in Australia.

“The Commonwealth would presume control of Aboriginal personal businesss. brush off racial favoritism. grant citizenship rights to Aborigines. and recognize equality for the Aboriginal people” ( Attwood. 2007 ) . H. C. Coombs states “I recommended that the authorities should non hotfoot a determination on this affair of organisation. but should ab initio name a little council supported by an office with a strong research footing. to analyze the nature of the jobs it would confront and rede the authorities in relation to policies and the administrative and executive agencies by which they might be carried out” ( Coombs. 1994 ) .

Although the referendum was significantly of import in 1967 it was non until the Labor Party in 1972 when the “promise of the referendum was decently fulfilled” ( Attwood. 2007 ) . The powers that were now available to the Federal Government were ignored for a five-year period after the 1967 referendum. which some signified as a deficiency of action by the authorities. but I would hold it as a clip where the Government was unsure of how to travel about rectifying a 60 twelvemonth incorrectly.

In decision. the correlativity between the most of import Aboriginal political organisation events and protests revolved around times when Australia was having negative imperativeness in the international range when covering with Aboriginal rights. Both the Aboriginal political groups and the international perceptual experience of Australian were important in the promotion of Aboriginal rights from the late 1940’s traveling frontward. Mentions Alexander. John. ( 1997 ) :

Following David Unaipon’s footfalls. in Journal of Australian Studies. 21:54-55. 22-29 Attwood. B. and Markus. A. ( 1999 ) Introduction. In The Struggle for Aboriginal Rights: A Documentary History ( pp. 1-29 ) . Sydney: Allen and Unwin. Attwood. B. . & A ; Markus. A. ( 2007 ) . The 1967 referendum: Race. power and the Australian fundamental law. Canberra. Act: Aboriginal Studies Press. Attwood. B. . & A ; Markus. A. ( 2004 ) . Thinking black: William Cooper and the Australian aborigines’ conference. Canberra. Act: Aboriginal Studies Press. Barker. B. ( 1997 ) . Geting authorities to listen: A usher to the international human rights system for autochthonal Australians.

East Sydney. NSW. Australia: The Australian Youth Foundation. Broome. R. ( 1982 ) . Aboriginal Australians: black response to white laterality 1788-1980. North Sydney. Naval special warfare: George Allen & A ; Unwin Australia Pty Ltd. Chesterman. J. . & A ; Galligan. B. ( 1997 ) . Citizens without rights: Natives and Australian citizenship. London. England: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. Chesterman. John. ( 2001 ) : Defending australia’s repute how autochthonal Australians won civil rights portion one. In Australian Historical Studies. 32:116. 20-39

Coombs. H. C. ( 1994 ) . Aboriginal Autonomy Issues and Strategies. New York: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge. Flood. J. ( 2006 ) . The original Australians: Narrative of the Aboriginal people. Crows Nest. NSW. Australia: Allen & A ; Unwin. Gurr. T. ( 1983 ) . Outcomes of public protest among australias natives. American Behavioral Scientist. 26 ( 3 ) . 353-373. Maynard. John ( 1997 ) . ‘Fred Maynard and the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association’ . Aboriginal History 21: 1–13. Patten. J. T. and Ferguson. W. ‘Aborigines claim citizen rights!

In J Horner. ( 1974 ) Vote Ferguson for Aboriginal Freedom. ( pp 192-199 ) Sydney: Australia and New Zealand Book Company. Prentis. M. ( 2008 ) . A concise comrade to Aboriginal history. NSW. Australia: Rosenberg Publishing. Rowse. Tim ( 2000 ) . Autochthonal citizenship: The political relations of communal capacities. Change: Transformations in Education 3. 1: 1-16. The 1967 Referendum document 14. pages 99-100. Henry Wardlaw. Secretary. Council for Aboriginal Rights. to Rt Hon. Paul Hasluck. Minister for Territories. 28 August 1951.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member