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Short Speech: How Has Aboriginal Citzenship Changed Since 1901

472 words - 2 pages

At the beginning of the Commonwealth of Australia?s history, Aborigines were not counted as citizens. Section 127 of the constitution stated, ?in reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted?. This meant they did not vote, they did not pay taxes and they could not hold Government Jobs. In many facets their rights became significantly less over the years but overall they certainly didn?t start improving until 1944 with the sickness benefits act.The laws said that each state would make its own policies in regard to Aborigines, which was a ...view middle of the document...

The theory was that if you separated them until the bloodlines were really thin, there would be no more dark coloured people.During 1910-1960 Aboriginal children were stolen from their families. This ?stolen generation? grew up without an identity, they lost their language, customs and ancestral ties. They were taken for two reasons, the white government judged that the Aboriginal parents were unfit to bring up their children and to assimilate Aborigines into white culture.Before the referendum of May 1967, Aborigines were still not counted as Australian citizens. After a massively positive campaign, 90.8% of people voted to give Aborigines a political voice. This was a culmination of protest movements that started in the 1940?s. The referendum also removed a section in the constitution (s. 51 xxvi) which stopped Federal government making policies on Aborigines. Unfortunately the Holt government did nothing to change its policies. To bring further Aboriginal reform, a tent embassy was established on the front lawn of Parliament House in 1972. One of the main points of activism was over land rights. Aborigines wanted land owned y their ancestors to be returned. The law stated that the land had been terra nullius i.e. land belonging to no-one. In many cases land was given back, or compensation was rewarded. This was much-needed recognition for the original inhabitants of Australia.Now all Aborigines are counted in the census, are allowed to look after their own children, vote and receive family benefits.

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