The rights and freedoms of Aboriginal people changed significantly between the years 1945 and 2000. The Australian government put in place polices of protection, assimilation, integration and self determination which disempowered Aboriginal people and severely affected their rights and freedoms. The policy of protection effected many Aboriginals rights and freedoms. They were treated unfairly, procrastinated on every move they made and were forced to be educated in the “white ways”.
As white people were “protecting” Aboriginal people this policy was mainly brought about; racism, discrimination and loss of Aboriginal culture. This meant that at anytime any Aborigine could be separated from their families and moved onto a mission or reserve, would need permission from the government to marry a white person, could not vote and traditional dancing and ceremonies were often forbidden. Through the policy of protection Source C can relate through the quote, ” When we were growing up, you weren’t allowed to do a lot of things… Any time you did anything you’d go before the superintendent”.
As these words were said by Noel Blair we can say that this policy had a very negative effect on the Aboriginals Rights and Freedoms. The Policy of assimilation also changed the Rights and Freedoms of Aboriginal people. This policy of assimilation meant that aboriginal people were encouraged to give up their tradition lifestyle and to absorb the culture of “white people”. The Stolen Generation was a major cause to this assimilation where children were forcibly removed from their homes and families, moved into institutions and finally adopted into a white persons home.
Another aspect of the Assimilation policy was that Aborigines had the lack of right in Citizenship and were not recognised as citizens. After the Second World War they were counted as citizens if they applied for a certificate. As Aborigines were thankful to be Citizens, any Aborigine having that certificate or wanting to vote had to give up the Indigenous community. In Source D it is stated that, ” As part of the policies from 1913 to 1969 many thousands of Aboriginal children were taken from their parents”.
This shows the insecurity Aboriginal people had on their lives and families. As the rights of Aborigines continued to change, Assimilation was replaced by the policy of Integration in 1965. For the first time Aboriginal people had the right of way to say how their lives were run. This was a positive for Aborigines which gave them a drive to change the inequalities being experienced by Aboriginal people. This changed aboriginals for the better and allowed them to vote in Federal elections in 1962, the Freedom Rides of 1965 and the 1967 Referendum.
Source B shows us an article of ‘Memories of Patricia O’Shane’, 4this source is a good example of Aboriginal people fighting for their rights and not having specific laws or restrictions on them. As the Aboriginals were finally allowed to vote in Federal elections in 1962, the Freedom Rides of 1965 and the 1967 Referendum, these were some major gains for them during this time. In 1972, the government introduced the policy of self-determination. This was a policy aimed at having Aboriginal communities taking part in decisions that affected their lives.
During this time Aboriginal people continued to fight for their lost rights and freedoms. Self-determination was a major step towards Aboriginal people having the same rights and freedoms as those enjoyed by white Australians. One of the main reasons self-determination became fore front of the government policy was because the Whitlam government recognised that a multicultural society was much more achievable and beneficial for Australia, Also wanting all groups of culture to be treated equally.
As people wanted to destroy Aboriginal culture, the Federal government encouraged people to accept it and schools began to teach Aboriginal culture and history to both indigenous and white children. In conclusion we can see that the Aboriginal government practiced policies which controlled and restricted the rights and freedoms of Aboriginal people. Through their place polices of protection, assimilation, integration and self determination we were able to look into the minds of the Aboriginal people and to see how their lives effected them and their culture.
Courtney from Study Moose
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