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Legal Process Assignment History of Aboriginal/white relations in Australia In 1788, when Australia was laid claim to by the British, Aboriginal peoples who were the first inhabitants, were forced to accept English law due to the fact the British used the doctrine to settle a land that was practically unoccupied. In effect, they claimed that the 'land belonged to no-one' or in other words was terra nullius. The Aboriginal peoples believe they 'belonged' to the land - meaning that the land supported their needs of food, shelter and clothing. This was ignored by the British as that did not fit well with Australia being unoccupied.1 Since Australia was occupied by the British, the Aboriginal Peoples have been treated extremely badly. Their land was taken from them and half-caste children were stolen to assimilate in white communities. The 'plan' was to remove the Aboriginal Peoples from their land and on to Government controlled reserves. The white settlers believed that the Aboriginal Peoples would eventually die off and then their land could be sold off as farm land. When this wasn't occurring, as there were children who were growing up, the Aboriginal Protection Board pressured the State Government for stronger power to deal with them. In 1909 the Aboriginal Protection Act2 was passed through state parliament which did give the board full control over the lives of Aboriginal Peoples in New South Wales, s 11 stated 'The board may...
Local solutions for local issues'. A saving grace is that there are some Aboriginal leaders who do support the policy so that it is not those in ivory towers who will hopefully have the final word. Analysis of the Policy The proposed policy of closing the gap between life expectancy and life chances does have it merits as we do require equality in Australia, however a policy to quarantine half the welfare entitlements of Aboriginal people living in rural and remote communities, if children are not sent to boarding schools in larger communities or cities is akin to going back in time. Mistakes from the past (from the early 1900's through to 1970) have been realised so a repeat should not occur. Taking children from their parents and the only life they have ever known may have an adverse reaction. When children were taken in the past, complaints were put forward to authorities during this period but were not acted upon at that time. One example is a newspaper article11 from 1925 at which time four Aboriginal children were taken from their parents just prior to Christmas. The children were well fed and clothed by their parents - who were not aware that their children were to be removed. The writer has a belief that unless a child is being abused in any way they should remain with their parents and not even the government should remove them.
should speak with Noel and Gerhardt about what they are doing in Cape York and instill values back into the Aboriginals people's lives. There has been success in other countries with instilling value back in the lives of Indigenous Peoples. The Canadian Government has had success with their Indigenous peoples in Kanesatake.18 The government drafted 55 police officers from 18 other native communities around Quebec to fight what was going on and to enable policies focusing on health, education, employment and law-and-order to maximise the quality of life for these people - rather than policies of separatism and autonomy. There really does need to me a stronger national policy on educational outcomes - especially with pre-school and middle years' education - this it is said, will unlock the cycle of poverty. Aboriginal Studies should be mandatory for teacher training and students in schools. Programs that enhance pride and self-esteem in Aboriginal young people by way of teaching Aboriginal languages would be valuable.19 Our close neighbours, New Zealand have had success with incorporating the traditional Maori language into everyday life - from street signs, television shows (with English captions) as well as teaching the language in schools. Although there are many, many different dialects and languages here with the Aboriginal peoples, it may be that there will be many languages taught in different regions, depending on the dialect/language spoken by the original tribe of the area. In the writers belief, the above mentioned policy is in its infancy and requires more research and involvement of Aboriginal Communities and the Australian Government.
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