Aboriginal timeline: Politics

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1965

  1. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ Affairs Act, passed in Queensland, gives the Director of Aboriginal Affairs considerable power over ‘assisted Aborigines’. For example, an assisted Aboriginal person could be detained for up to a year for behaving in an ‘offensive, threatening, insolent, insulting, disorderly, obscene or indecent manner’ or ‘leaving, escaping or attempting to leave or escape from the reserve’.

  2. Queensland allows Aboriginal people to vote in state elections, becoming the last State to grant this right.

  3. Integration policy is introduced, supposedly to give Aboriginal people more control over their lives and society.

1966

  1. The South Australian Prohibition of Discrimination Act is the first of its kind in Australia and bans all types of race and colour discrimination in employment, accommodation, legal contracts and public facilities.

  2. South Australia passes an Aboriginal Lands Trust Bill and the Prohibition of Discrimination Bill, the first state act prohibiting discrimination on grounds of race, colour or country of origin.

1967

  1. In the Commonwealth 1967 Referendum more than 90% vote to empower the Commonwealth to legislate for all Aboriginal people and open means for them to be counted in the census. Hopes fly high that constitutional discrimination will end. It also empowers the federal government to legislate for Aboriginal people in the states and share responsibility for Aboriginal affairs with state governments. All states except Queensland abandon laws and policies that discriminate against Aboriginal people. The first census fully including Aboriginal people is in 1971.

1968

  1. The Commonwealth Office of Aboriginal Affairs is established and in 1972 becomes the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.

1969

  1. Aborigines Advisory Council set up.

1971

  1. Queensland Aborigines Act is passed, maintaining some legal restrictions for Aboriginal people living on reserves. Aboriginal cultural customs are banned and reading matter, mail, recreation, and marital and sexual relationships are censored. Their work and wage worth can be decreased and their movements recorded.

  2. Neville Bonner becomes the first Aboriginal Member of Parliament, filling a casual Senate vacancy. In 1972 he is elected on the Liberal Party ticket in Queensland. Senator Bonner continues to represent Queensland as a Liberal Senator until 1983.

  3. Dennis Walker and Sam Watson open the first and only ever Australian chapter of the Black Panther Party (an anti-racism left wing US organisation) in Brisbane. They monitor police activity and the amount of young black men vs. young white men taken into the prison system for the same crime. The party ceased in 1973. [1]

    We followed Aboriginal defendants through – recording and comparing the sentencing trends so we could show that Aboriginal people were the most overarrested and overincarcerated people in the entire Australian community.

    — Sam Watson, Aboriginal activist [1]

1972

  1. After having been in effect for more than 70 years, the government announces that the White Australia policy has ended.

    When migration began here on January 26th 1788 all Australians were black and the first migrants were white and not very well selected I might say.

    — Al Grassby, Minister for Immigration 1972–1974 [2]
  2. Aboriginal Heritage Protection Act is proclaimed in Western Australia.

  3. The Whitlam (Labor) government abolishes the White Australia Policy and introduces a policy of self-determination. The change provides the right to cultural and linguistic maintenance and management of natural resources on Aboriginal land.

  4. The Whitlam (Labor) government establishes the Department of Aboriginal Affairs. By 1975 offices have been established in all states and only Queensland has not transferred to the department all major responsibilities for Aboriginal policy and administration.

1973

  1. First national elections for Aboriginal people to elect 41 members of the National Aboriginal Consultative committee. More than 27,000 Aboriginal people vote.

1974

  1. Eric Deeral becomes Queensland’s first Aboriginal Member of Parliament. He goes on to represent the seat of Cook in the Queensland Parliament from 1974 to 1977.

  2. Hyacinth Tungutalum (Country Liberal Party), from Bathurst Island is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly, representing the electorate of Arafura.

1975

  1. White Australia immigration policy ends.

1976

  1. Yorta Yorta man Sir Douglas Ralph Nicholls is appointed Governor of South Australia. He is the first non-white person to serve as the governor of an Australian state, and is the only Aboriginal person to have held an official's office. He retires due to ill health on 22 April 1977.

References

View article sources (0)

[9867] 'The Black Panthers Brisbane Chapter', Hell Yeah Magazine, 3rd edition, 2011 p.31
[9890] 'Immigration Nation', 3-part SBS series, Part 3

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2020, Aboriginal timeline: Politics, <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australian-aboriginal-history-timeline/politics?page=3>, retrieved 25 October 2020

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