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1978

  1. The Northern Territory Aboriginal Sacred Sites Ordinance is passed, instituting prosecution for trespass and desecration of Aboriginal sites.

  2. Health statistics show that 48 in every 1,000 Aboriginal babies in NT die before reaching 1 year of age. This compares to 1 baby in every 1000 in the white population. Of the 6,000 Aboriginal children living in Sydney 4,000 are underweight. Leprosy still occurs in Aboriginal populations and alcohol is a serious problem.

  3. Land titles are granted to 15 Aboriginal Land Trusts in the Northern Territory.

  4. Western Australian government agrees that some of the money earned by mining land held by the Aboriginal Lands Trusts “would go to the Aborigines”.

  5. Land & land rights

    The Northern Land Council and Commonwealth Government signed the Ranger uranium mining agreement.

1979

  1. The National Aboriginal Conference resolves that a treaty should be concluded between Aboriginal people and the Australian government. It decides to use a word from an Aboriginal language for the process: Makarrata, a Yolngu word.

  2. The first Aboriginal parliamentarian, Neville Bonner, receives the Australian of the Year award. Famous Aboriginal people

  3. Cyril Kennedy (Australian Labor Party) is the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the Victorian Legislative Council, representing the electorate of Waverley.

  4. The government is aware that underpaying reserve workers is illegal; the reserve wage is 72% of the state minimum.

  5. A group of prominent non-Aboriginal Australians form the Aboriginal Treaty Committee, chaired by economist Herbert Cole 'Nugget' Coombs (the first Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia). For five years the Committee tries to educate and persuade non-Aboriginal Australians to the idea of a treaty. It receives no support from the government.

    A national consultation is initiated, culminating in a report of the federal Parliament that recommended the government consider a treaty.

  6. In “Coe vs Commonwealth”, Aboriginal barrister Paul Coe is unsuccessful in challenging the legal concept that Australia had been an uninhabited land which had been settled not conquered.

  7. By 1979 NSW Land Trust had gained 144 properties, all former Aboriginal reserves.

  8. The NSW Aboriginal Education Advisory Group re-forms as NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, representing communities statewide, and later recognised as a principal source of advice to the government on Aboriginal education.

  9. The Western Australian Supreme Court grants an injunction against the American-based Amax company which wants to explore Aboriginal-owned Noonkanbah pastoral lease for oil. The cattle and sheep station in the state’s northwest was purchased by the Commonwealth for local Aboriginal people, who were surprised to find that 497 mining leases and an oil exploration permit had already been granted on their land. Test drilling finally went ahead despite Aboriginal resistance, supported by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people across Australia. In 2007 Aboriginal people win native title rights over land including the station.

  10. Treaty

    Protesters at Capital Hill, Canberra, demand the the federal government to enter treaty negotiations with Aboriginal people. The Prime Minister advises that he would discuss the matter of a treaty with the National Aboriginal Conference, the elected body representing Aboriginal people. The NAC, aware of the government's opposition to the word 'treaty', chooses to use the Yolgnu word 'Makarrata', which was first published as meaning 'the resumption of normal relations at the end of a conflict', but later known to mean 'pay-back killings between families or tribes'.

  11. Treaty

    Aboriginal activist Kevin Gilbert writes to the Prime Minister identifying the key issues of Aboriginal Nations' sovereignty, the need for a treaty, and a Bill of Rights.

    In his reply, the prime minister concludes that he and his government are prepared to consider a treaty with the elected body the National Aboriginal Conference.

    I shall be pleased to discuss the concept of a treaty with the National Aboriginal Conference.

    — Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

1980

  1. The Pitjantjatjara Council advises the Aboriginal Affairs Minister of the possible radioactive contamination of Aboriginal people at Wallatinna Station, South Australia, as a result of atomic bomb tests. The ‘Black Mist’ of 1953 is brought to public attention with symptoms of sight loss and skin rashes reported. A number of Aboriginal people die and up to 1,000 are directly affected as a result of the bombs exploded by the British military with Australian government approval. Aboriginal people living in the area were not informed about the explosions.

  2. Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation established. Followed by Link-Up (Qld) in 1988, Link-Up (Darwin) in 1989, Link-Up (Tas) in 1991, Link-Up (Vic) in 1992, Link-Up (SA) in 1999, Link-Up (Alice Springs) in 2000, and Link-Up (WA- seven sites) in 2001. Link-Up provides family tracing, reunion and support for forcibly removed children and their families (Stolen Generations).

  3. Dispute at Noonkanbah, Western Australia, over drilling on sacred sites draws national and international attention to Aboriginal rights.

  4. Jim Hagan is the first Australian Aboriginal person to address the United Nations in Geneva taking Indigenous matters to the international stage when the Fraser government fails to stop mining on sacred sites on Noonkanbah Station, about 300 kms west of Broome in northwest Western Australia.

References

View article sources (1)

[1] [1a] 'Makarrata v Treaties', Sovereign Union 18/8/2017

Cite this page

Korff, J 2022, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=19>, retrieved 25 September 2022

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