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Government Policy: Protection

Definition
Aboriginal Australians needed to be separated from white Australians and
protected for their own good.
Time Period
1800s 1930s
Aims of the
To separate Aboriginals from white people, and to put them in missions or
policy
reserves to be protected.
Ideas guiding
Aboriginal people were a dying race, expected to die out soon as they had not
the policy
evolved as much as white people and were inferior.
Legislation
As this policy was predominantly in place before federation, most of the
introduced
legislation introduced was different for the states. Even once we became one
under the
nation, it took a while until Aboriginal laws were passed nationally.
policy
NSW: 1881 Protector appointed, 1909 Aborigines Protection Act
Vic: 1869 Aborigines Protection Act, 1886 Aborigines Protection Act
SA: 1836 Protector appointed, 1856 Protector abolished, 1893 Fisheries
Amendment Act, 1895 Opium Act, 1909 Licensing Act, 1911 Aborigines Act,
1915 Crown Lands Act
Qld: 1897 Aboriginal Protection and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act, 1904
Torres Strait Islanders under same legislation as Aborigines
WA: 1905 Aborigines Act
NT: 1910 Aborigines Act
Why was it
This was the first of the four major policies towards Aboriginals; before the
introduced? ie: policy of protection they were not regarded at all by white people. The
What factors
government partly brought in the policy as they didnt know what to do with the
made the
indigenous peoples and they were generally getting in the way of European
government
settlement and development. The belief in Social Darwinism and that Aboriginals
change the
really were inferior as they had not evolved the way Europeans had and were less
policy from the civilised was also very popular at the time, and this affected the governments
previous one?
policy.
What happened Aboriginal people were moved into missions or reserves, run either by the
to the
government or by churches. Many were removed from traditional lands and
Aboriginal
separated from their families and communities. This separated from the two
people under
fundamental parts of Aboriginal culture: a close tie to the land and importance of
the policy?
kinship and closeness to families. Protectionism was a policy of segregation, so
the discrimination against Aboriginal people only heightened. Those who werent
deported to missions ended up living in small isolated communities where they
had no right to vote, receive a wage, a pension or any other privilege white people
had. In this era what is now known as the Stolen Generations, ie the removal of
half-blood Aboriginal children from their tribal areas, was also common. In many
instances the government thought they were doing the right thing by the children,
and some half-blood children were seen as out of place in their indigenous
groups.
What was the
The policy of protectionism impacted general society as well as Aboriginal
impact of the
people: normal white people discriminated against indigenous groups more than
policy?
they had previously. They were also able to take advantage of these people in
many ways, including underpaying them and sexual abuse. These Aboriginals
were hard-working, dirt cheap to hire and knew how to look after the land and
many lazy land-owners took advantage of this.

Government Policy: Assimilation


Definition
The policy of trying to make people change their culture or way of life so they
will fit in and become part of a different culture or way of life.
Time Period
1930s 1960s (however, due to WWII, didnt really begin until 1950s)
Aims of the
The main aim was to integrate indigenous Australians into white culture, without
policy
letting them maintain any of their own culture as white way of life was superior.
Ideas guiding
Aboriginal Australians were not dying out as predicted, so the government had to
the policy
do something about them. They decided that, as white way of life was superior,
Aboriginal Australians should be integrated into white society with no
opportunity to continue their own indigenous culture.
Legislation
There were few separate state legislations, however by 1951 all states said they
introduced
were working by an assimilation policy of some sort.
under the
A ban was also placed on speaking native Aboriginal tongues.
policy
Why was it
The government had become aware that Aboriginals were not dying out, as they
introduced? ie: had expected. In fact, the number of mixed blood people was greatly increasing,
What factors
and the government had nothing to do with them. The idea of letting them retain
made the
their culture was absurd; they were convinced that white culture was superior.
government
Hence the idea of absorbing Aboriginal people into mainstream white culture
change the
came about: in this way, the indigenous population would no longer be the
policy from the responsibility of the government, but they wouldnt be able to adopt their own
previous one?
cultures again.
What happened Aboriginal people were seriously discriminated against under this policy: most
to the
white Australians didnt accept them into society, so even though they tried to get
Aboriginal
jobs and be accepted, no-one would have them. Despite working hard, Aboriginal
people under
people were forced to live in fringe cities with poor and few facilities. Many pubs
the policy?
and other entertainment venues wouldnt allow Aboriginal people to be in t them.
Children continued to be stolen from parents, and speaking a native tongue was a
highly punishable offence.
What was the
This policy impacted general society as well as the indigenous people, who were
impact of the
of course impacted severely by these changes. However for white people, this
policy?
policy caused a sudden influx of Aboriginal people in cities trying to get jobs.
Most people scorned them and made life very difficult for them. They wouldnt
give an Aborigine a job or make them feel welcome in their area. Physical and
sexual abuse were common, on top of discrimination. Alcohol was consumed in
large amounts by Aboriginal people, due to the stress and difficulty of their lives,
which caused severe problems as their bodies cant handle this very well.

Government Policy: Integration


Definition
The policy of bringing Aboriginal people into white society, allowing them scope
to maintain their own traditions.
Time Period
1960s 1972
Aims of the
This policy, similarly to assimilation, attempted to integrate Aboriginal people
policy
into white society. However, the aim of Integration was to allow indigenous
people to maintain their original cultures.
Ideas guiding
Aboriginal peoples culture began to be respected and viewed as a different
the policy
culture to white culture, rather than being squashed.
Legislation
1962 Commonwealth Electoral Change allowing Aboriginal people to vote.
introduced
1966 Commonwealth Cattle Station
under the
1967 Famous referendum in which Australia decided that indigenous people
policy
would be included in the Census.
Why was it
Following continual protests about Aboriginal rights (starting with the Day of
introduced? ie: Mourning in 1938, but also with other demonstrations such as the Freedom Rides
What factors
of 1965), the government began to view them as people, not just a nuisance. The
made the
rights and culture of Aboriginal people began to be respected and taken seriously,
government
however they were still governed by a white government section, not themselves.
change the
policy from the
previous one?
What happened Indigenous Australians were now allowed to attend secondary school and
to the
continue into tertiary education. They were gradually being accepted into
Aboriginal
workplaces, however some places still didnt accept them. Their life expectancies
people under
were considerably lower than white Australians, and they were surrounded by
the policy?
health problems in general. In general, though there were some improvements to
their lives, Aboriginal people were still living in a considerably disadvantaged
society compared to European-descent citizens. (This gap between Aboriginal
people and the rest of Australian society still continues in the present day.)
What was the
Integration had a large impact on Aboriginal people, as they were gradually being
impact of the
accepted, for the first time in almost 200 years, as part of society. They were also
policy?
allowed to maintain their Dreamtime culture and return to their original land. The
impact on the rest of Australia was not so great this time: the process of
Aboriginal people become accepted into modern life was very gradual and
occurred from before this policy, throughout it and still had a long way to go
when the next policy was instated.

Government Policy: Self-Determination


Definition
The right of Aboriginal people to determine what is best for them and to control
their own lives.
Time Period
1972 present day
Aims of the
Aboriginal people should be able to decide where they belong in Australia, rather
policy
than being governed by a white government body.
Ideas guiding
Aboriginal peoples were equal to other Australians, with the same rights as the rest
the policy
of society. They were also allowed to make their own decisions for themselves.
Legislation
The Department of Aboriginal Affairs was set up.
introduced
Racial Discrimination Act.
under the
Aboriginal Land Rights Act.
policy
Anti-Discrimination Act.
Mabo Decision.
Native Title Act.
Bringing Them Home report published.
Why was it
The 1960s and 1970s were decades of severe political change globally, and
introduced? ie: Australia emulated many other countries with civil rights movements. The Whitlam
What factors
Government believed that Aboriginal people truly were equal to any other people
made the
(it was under this government that the White Australia Policy was fully abolished)
government
and that therefore they deserved to decide their own place in society. The policy of
change the
integration, though it attempted to equalise them with other people, didnt allow
policy from the indigenous peoples to make any decisions for themselves.
previous one?
What happened An attempt was made by most Australians to accept indigenous peoples fully into
to the
society. A number of Aboriginal people ended up in well-paid jobs and were able to
Aboriginal
have a decent education, however many other Aboriginal people continued to live
people under
in far more poverty than other Australians and have a higher infant mortality rate as
the policy?
well as a lower life expectancy only 24% of Aboriginal males and 35% of
Aboriginal females live past 65, compared to 87% of other Australians.
What was the
This policy has had a large impact on the country of Australia: for the first time,
impact of the
Aboriginal people were really seen as equal to white Australians. The country
policy?
began to be aware of the incredibly poor conditions of the indigenous populations
and various organisations, as well as the government, attempted to close the gap
between Aboriginal conditions and other Australians, however there is still a severe
issue. The first Sorry Day took place in 1998, showing how concerned the general
population were with Aboriginal welfare. In 2008, PM Kevin Rudd officially
apologised to the Stolen Generations.