History

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1981

  1. Secretariat of the National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care established (SNAICC). SNAICC represents the interests on a national level of Australia’s 100 or so Indigenous community-controlled children’s services.

  2. Michael Anderson, the only surviving founder of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, becomes the first Aboriginal Australian to address the United Nations.

  3. 3 March

    The Australian government takes issue with using the word 'treaty' in the context of Aboriginal sovereignty in a letter by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Peter Baume: "Although the word 'Treaty' is occasionally used in the domestic context... [it] is ordinarily used to refer to a kind of international agreement. In that sense it is clearly inapplicable to any form of agreement between the Commonwealth and Aborigines since the latter are not a 'nation'." [1]

    The Senate resolved on 24 September 1981 that the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs should examine the feasibility... of servicing a compact or Makarrata between the Commonwealth Government and Aboriginal Australians. — Peter Baume, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs [1]

  4. 26 October

    The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr. Peter Baume, writes to the then Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Conference, Mr. Bill Bird, in response to a letter advising him of the 27 items that had emerged as a preliminary list of matters that were being considered for inclusion in the Makarrata/treaty.

1982

  1. Eddie Mabo commences land rights proceedings in the High Court of Australia.

  2. Ken Colbung, a Nyoongar Aboriginal activist from Western Australia, receives the Order of Australia Medal for his services to the Aboriginal community. Ken was heavily involved in Aboriginal politics and the main architect of the Aboriginal Heritage Protection Act which came into force in 1972. [2]

  3. The National Aboriginal Conference developed its own proposal which created a way for every Aboriginal nation to negotiate its own treaty, compact or agreement and it avoided nations being forced into a single national proposal.

  4. Victorian Premier John Cain announces legislation is to be passed recognising the Aboriginal ownership of the Framlingham Forest near Warrnambool.

  5. Aboriginal people at the Hermannsburg mission (131 km southwest of Alice Springs) are granted freehold title.

  6. The Northern Land Council sign an agreement with Pancontinental Mining Limited allowing the company to mine uranium at Jabiluka, 230 km east of Darwin in the NT. The mine site is surrounded by, but not part of Kakadu National Park. World Heritage listed for both its environmental and cultural importance, Kakadu is Australia’s largest national park. In 1998 thousands came from around Australia and across the world to support the Mirarr people and blockade the proposed Jabiluka mine.

  7. Death of Joe Pat in Roebourne gaol (WA). The first death in custody to be widely protested ultimately leads to the setting up of the Muirhead enquiry.

  8. Mark (Gordon) Ella, an Aboriginal rugby union player, often considered as one of Australia’s all-time greats in that sport, is named Australian of the Year.

  9. 28 June

    The Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs is presented with a recommendation that an amendment to the Constitution for the Treaty-making process should be the same form as Section 105A of the Australian Constitution, which would then enshrine Aboriginal inherent sovereign rights. The Fraser government gives in-principle support to this proposal.

  10. October

    Queensland Aboriginal people protest at the Commonwealth Games.

1983

  1. Aboriginal Land Rights Act (NSW) recognises dispossession and dislocation of NSW Aboriginal people with land tax funding as compensation, and sets up a 3-tiered system of Aboriginal Land Councils (state, regional and local).

  2. The Aboriginal Child Placement Principle, developed principally due to the efforts of Aboriginal and Islander Child Care Agencies (AICCAs) during the 1970s, is incorporated in NT welfare legislation to ensure that Indigenous children are placed with Indigenous families when adoption or fostering is necessary. This is followed in NSW (1987), Victoria (1989), South Australia (1993), Queensland and the ACT (1999), Tasmania (2000) and Western Australia (2006).

  3. The Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs, in its report Two Hundred Years Laterrejects the idea of a treaty because it believes that the Aboriginal peoples were not a sovereign entity and so they could not enter into a treaty with the Commonwealth.

    The Standing Committee favours a compact which could eventually be inserted into the Constitution by referendum. (The word "compact" is used here with the meaning of "a formal agreement between two or more parties, states, etc.", or "a contract".)

  4. Prime Minister Bob Hawke stops negotiations, withdraws funding from the National Aboriginal Conference and shuts down the treaty processAboriginal attitudes to the idea of a treaty are also varied and far from unanimous in the 1970s and 80s.

  5. Wesley Lanhupuy (Australian Labor Party), from central coastal Arnhem Land, is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Arnhem.

1984

  1. Enrolment and voting in Commonwealth elections is now compulsory for Aboriginal people.

References

View article sources (2)

[1] [1a] ''That Word' Treaty - The Value of Historical Insights', National Unity Government, retrieved 22/6/2016
[2] 'WA mourns loss of Elder', Koori Mail 468 p.14

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=19>, retrieved 23 May 2019

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