History

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1990

  1. 5 March

    Bob Hawke's Labor government establishes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission Act 1989. It allows elected regional councils and a board of commissioners to make decisions on policy and funding.

  2. 16 July

    Founding of the Aboriginal Provisional Government (APG) which sees Aboriginal people as a sovereign people and campaigns for Aboriginal self-determination and self-government, rejects assimilation into the Australian state, and maintains that Aboriginal people have the right to decide the future of their lands and lives to the exclusion of colonial interference.

1991

  1. The Upper House in Tasmania rejects land rights legislation for Aboriginal people.

  2. The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation is set up, funded by the federal government, with cross-party support. The parliament noted that there had not been a formal process of reconciliation to date, “and that it was most desirable that there be such a reconciliation” by 2001.

  3. The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody presents its ‘Report and Recommendations’ to the federal government. It finds that of the 99 deaths it investigated, 43 were of people who were separated from their families as children.

  4. Legislation providing for land rights in Queensland is passed - the Aboriginal Land Act 1991 and the Torres Strait Land Act 1991. The laws are greatly inferior to the standard set by the Northern Territory legislation.

  5. 2 September

    Support for a treaty is not unanimous, but wide political support continues for reconciliation. Through 1990 and 1991, cross-party support develops for a formal process of reconciliation to be led by a council of prominent Australians, and the government establishes the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation on 2 September 1991.

1992

  1. The High Court of Australia hands down its landmark decision in Mabo v Queensland (Mabo case, Mabo decision). It rules that native title exists over particular kinds of lands - unalienated Crown lands, national parks and reserves - and that Australia was never terra nullius or empty land.

  2. Torres Strait Islander flag designed.

  3. Maurice Rioli (Australian Labor Party), from Melville Island is elected to the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly representing the electorate of Arafura.

  4. Minister for Aboriginal Affairs invokes the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Act to protect women’s sites near Alice Springs, threatened by a dam proposed by the Northern Territory government.

  5. The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation issues its Strategic Plan for the next three years.

  6. Mandawuy Yunupingu, leader of the Aboriginal band Yothu Yindi, receives the Australian of the Year award. Famous Aboriginal people

  7. 26 January

    The first Survival Day concert is held in Sydney.

  8. 10 December

    Labor Prime Minister Paul Keating’s Redfern speech at the launch of the International Year of the Indigenous People acknowledges past wrongs perpetrated against Aboriginal people.

1993

  1. International Year of Indigenous People.

  2. Due to growing public concern and pressure from Indigenous people the Aborigines Welfare Fund is frozen, ending deductions to the fund.

    According to historians, Native Affairs Department budgets were frequently topped up with money from the fund and, during the Depression, the government took more than $5 million to cover consolidated revenue deficits [1].

    By the time the welfare fund was frozen, all that remained was about $5 million. Up to 2008 it has accumulated another $5.8 million in interest [1].

  3. 30 June

    The Wik Peoples make a claim for native title in the Federal Court of Australia for land on the Cape York Peninsula in Queensland. Native Title Act does not pass through parliament until December 1993.

  4. September

    Elaine George on the Vogue Australia cover, September 1993

    In a first for Vogue, Aboriginal model Elaine George of Brisbane becomes the cover girl for the September issue of Vogue Australia 1993, leading to a career as an international model. Elaine was discovered as a 17-year-old at Dreamworld, a Gold Coast amusement park, by freelance photographer Grant Good.
    The issue became the highest selling Vogue in the then 34-year history of Australian Vogue.

  5. 15 December

    Ayers Rock is renamed "Ayers Rock / Uluru", becoming the first official dual-named feature in the Northern Territory. The order of the dual names was officially reversed to "Uluru / Ayers Rock" on 6 November 2002 following a request from the Regional Tourism Association in Alice Springs.

References

View article sources (1)

[1] [1a] 'State Government's dodgy deal', Courier-Mail, 30/11/2008

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=22>, retrieved 21 November 2019

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