Aboriginal Political Movement in Australia

2533 words 11 pages
Question: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples have since colonization been politically active. Discuss drawing from readings and research about various forms of political engagement.
Since the beginning of European colonization in 1788, Aboriginal people have experienced displacement, have been the targets of genocidal policies and practices, and have had families destroyed through the forcible removal of children. Decades of colonial exploitation and a prolonged systematic attempt to destroy Aboriginal people and culture have led to legislations and policies that are punitive and restrictive towards Aboriginal people. Such legislation reflects the dominant society’s perceptions of Aboriginal people and how they ought to be
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Thus, this led to the 1967 Referendum, which approved two amendments to the Australian constitution by removing discriminatory sections and enabling the federal government to take direct action in Aboriginal affairs (**). All of these elements foreshadowed a pattern of protest that was to continue and expand in the 1970s and 1980s. Another political action that was one of the most effective in the history of Aboriginal struggle was the development of the Aboriginal Embassy. On 26 January 1972, four Aboriginal men planted a beach umbrella in the lawns of the Australian Parliament. A cardboard placard with the words 'Aboriginal Embassy' accompanied the umbrella - and so began the Aboriginal Tent Embassy. This act was in response to the ill-fated Australia Day Statement on Aboriginal rights made by Prime Minister McMahon. In his statement, land rights were denied in favor of 50-year leases to the Aboriginal communities (Broome, 2010, 229). McMahon’s words triggered widespread outrage in indigenous communities nationwide. The Aboriginal Embassy’s committee called for control of the Northern Territory, ownership of all reserves and some city areas in Australia, preservation of sacred lands, and ownership of minerals, along with a payment of $6 billion and a percentage of yearly gross national income. They argued to preserve their culture and traditions living on land that is rightfully


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