Has Australian law adequately protect the health of indigenous people?
The issue appeared in The Australian newspaper in January 2007 which discussed about the indigenous health. There is no exact statistics that really measure aborigines’ health as only about 72% of them were included in the surveys. The issue is able to make us think on actions that could be made in order to protect the health rights of the indigenous Australian. It seems to be impossible for the responsible authorities to address this problem effectively when there is lack of efficiency in gathering data.
(Source: Article by Milanda Rout in The Australian 27/01/10)
The term Indigenous can be referred as ‘Native to a particular region or environment but occurring naturally in other places as well’ (TheFreeDictionary 2009, ¶.1). In Australia, they were resided for almost 350 to 700 centuries ago. They usually can be found in isolated parts in Australia (History of the Aborigines n.d.). As Britain want to colonise Australia as a country in 1788, the indigenous community were chased by British (Bailey 2008). As the consequences, they lost their native title and many of them suffered from serious diseases as the Britain seized their habitat land (Bailey 2008; History of the Aborigines n.d.). By 1900, there was a small group of indigenous people in central and Northern Australia. Today, they live in some parts of rural area in Australia and try to keep their traditions alive (History of the Aborigines n.d).
As issues concerning the welfare of indigenous people were very rarely discussed, the founding fathers paid a little attention towards it in the 1890s (Bailey 2008). The rights of indigenous Australian was first to be recognised in the early 1900s as every states passed law to protect Aborigines’ rights (History of the Aborigines n.d.). In 1962, Electoral Act (Section 41) was amended to give those Aborigines their right to vote. Furthermore, in order to reduce racial discrimination towards indigenous community, 1967 Referendum was hold in which Section 51(xxvi) was amended and Section 127 was repealed (Bailey 2008). 1967 has become the landmark as indigenous affair became a concurrent power shared between the Commonwealth and the states (Bailey 2008; Freehollows 2003). Besides, they are also included in the census after 1967 and were given the same rights as other Australians and enjoy the same rights. (History of the Aborigines n.d.; Freehollows 2003).
However, although their rights were recognised starting from 1900s, some argue that it is insufficient as Australia does not has a ‘Bill of Rights’ and the Constitution is not a document which focus on human rights (Bailey 2008; Owen 2010). Despites of the claims, there is no need for the Australian government to have a ‘Bill of Right’ as the third element of Rule of Law already ensures the protection of human rights and natural justice. Plus, having...