Indigenous Australians Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:24:05
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The current political scene in Australia has the following Indigenous aspects that have been issues for Australians for many years. These are: land rights, education, employment, health and breakdown of culture. These are the main matters of concern politically. So it is like people say, Trust me. Im from the government. Well, it doesnt carry any water with our mob. ( Koori elder, cited in Kaplan-Myrth, Nili, 2005) Recognising that Aborigines and Torres Strait islanders were the First Peoples of Australia and entitled to land rights because of their own culture and laws is a significant part of history and relevant to todays politics.

The persistent land grabs through NSW and Tasmania, the slaughter of the Indigenous, and the controlling policies over the Indigenous are highlighted as part of our history. The Indigenous link to the land and their customs makes native titles a reality, as seen in the Mabo case, and shapes our history as one of the most contentious political situations in Australia today. When the first Europeans set foot on Australian soil, the British Empire declared the land as terra nullius, embarking on a project of land procurement to start a new colony (Macintyre, 2009).

In the period 1788 1820, many new settlements were developed from Sydney to the Hawkesbury, Parramatta and the Blue Mountains. Governor Philips originally ordered that the Aboriginals be treated with kindness but this sentiment soon disappeared as many Aboriginals, including women and children, were slaughtered for protecting their land. Tasmanian Aboriginals suffered the same fate and were eventually coaxed to live on surrounding islands as per the Batman treaty (Macintyre, 2009).

Many of the pastoral and grazing lands were taken illegally by squatters who saw a way to make money through occupying land and holding legal interest. This eventually led to squatters licensing 1839, leasing of land and finally the right to buy 1839-1847(Weaver, 1996). Other demands to make land easier for small farmers to acquire came through land reform Acts that started in 1850s (Boot, 1998). None of these considerations were extended to the original owners of the land.

The land was removed from the indigenous community including their rights and culture and the Indigenous people forced to live under the common category as Aborigine. From 1890, the government embarked on various policies for the indigenous people but in most cases further separated them from their culture. The 1901 Australian Constitution stated that Australian Aboriginals and Torres Straight Islanders were not counted in the census thus affirming lack of recognition. 1905, the White Australia policy restricted immigration and still failed to recognise Australias original inhabitants (Macintyre, 2009).

Different Aboriginal Community and Protection acts were enforced which removed children from their parents (stolen generations) and made the Indigenous people wards of the state. The instigation of the Assimilation policy, 1937, where it was presumed that all Australians in time would be living like white Australians, exasperated the loss of identity. Even the history of conflict between Indigenous and the military is under debate as Keith Windschuttle argued the numbers of Indigenous killed in battles were considerably fewer than some historians estimate (Harris, J.2003).

By the 1960s the civil rights movements had started the beginning of national black consciousness and in 1967 the Commonwealth referendum voted to empower the Commonwealth to legislate for all Aboriginal people to be counted in the census and give the Commonwealth government specific laws for Indigenous people. Using this as momentum the policy of self determination was initiated which gave powers of self governance and relied on Aboriginals in some remote areas to establish economic independence.

This proved to be disappointing as most depended on state welfare (Macintrye, 2009,). However, some Aboriginal Community controlled health facilities have made small advances. The first facility opened in Redfern 1971 (Kaplan-Myrth, Nili, 2005). The most prominent gain for the Indigenous people is the1992 Mabo Case which recognised Aborigines and Torres Straight Islanders as the first people of this land and overturned the doctrine of terra nullius acknowledging the existence of native title.

This decision pitted governments, pastoralists, mining industries and the Indigenous peoples against each other. In conjunction with the Mabo Case came the Native Titles Act which commenced operation in 1994 and emphasised the importance of Indigenous people belonging to the land and the significance of Aboriginal culture and laws (Perkins, 2009) Shortly after, the courts ruled in favour of the Wik Case and declared that pastoral leases did not necessarily overrule native title.

As a result, relationships between Indigenous people, Government and Australian land owners were strained as native title was not fully understood. When the 1997 Bringing Them Home report described the removal of children from Indigenous families it became the incentive needed to call for an apology and one was finally given by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, on 13th February 2008. This was to be the beginning of reconciliation. However, since then, more policies have been made that restrict how the Indigenous receive payments and standards of behaviour.

(Singleton, Aitkin, Jinks, Warhurst, 2013). Aboriginal and non Aboriginal people have not trusted each other for more than 200 years, clearly this continues. This paper shows that our history is relevant to relationships between the Government and Indigenous people. It highlights the abuse of Indigenous people by colonial settlers when taking the lands and their rights. It shows the fight for the Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders that was acknowledged through the courts and the start to reconciliation.

Understandably, it shows that a very insecure relationship continues. Referenceshave come to stay | Sunday 11 April at 8: Boot, H. (1998). Government and the Colonial Economies. In Australian Economic History Review, 38 (1), 74-101. Harris, J. (2003). Hiding the bodies: the myth of the humane colonisation of Aboriginal Australia. Aboriginal history, 27, 79-101. Kaplan-Myrth, Nili. (2005). Sorry Mates: Reconciliation and Self-Determination in Australian Aboriginal Health. Human Rights Review, Jul-Sep, 6(4),69-83. Macintyre, S. (2009).

A Concise history of Australia (3rd ed.), Melbourne: Cambridge University Perkins, R. (2009). SBS Television. A fair deal for a dark race, Episode 6, the First Australians; retrieved from http://www. sbs. com. au/firstaustralians/index/index/epid/6 Perkins, R. (2009). SBS Television. We are no longer Shadows, Episode 7, the First Australians; retrieved fromhttp://www. sbs. com. au/firstaustralians/index/index/epid/7r deal for a dark race | Sunday 16 May at 8:30pm Singleton, Aitkin, Jinks, Warhurst. (2013). Australian Political Institutions. (10th Ed. ). Pearson Australia.

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