History

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1998

  1. September

    Prime Minister John Howard vehemently opposes a treaty, instead insisting on non-binding recognition: "I hope we have some kind of written understanding. I don't like the idea of a treaty because it implies that we are two nations. We are not, we are one nation. We are all Australians before anything else, one indivisible nation.

    "But I would certainly be in favour of a document that recognises the prior occupation of this country by the indigenous people, recognising their place as part of the Australian community and their right to preserve their distinctive culture. But within the notion of one undivided united Australian community where our first and foremost allegiance is to Australia and nothing else."

1999

  1. Mandatory sentencing in Western Australia and the Northern Territory becomes a national issue. Many call for these laws to be overturned because they have greater impact on Indigenous children than on non-Indigenous children.

  2. Federal parliament issues a statement of sincere regret over the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families.

  3. 16-year-old Daniel Walbidi, from Yulparija, walks into Broome’s Short Street Gallery and asks owner Emily Rohr for painting supplies, inspiring his Yulparija elders, aged in their 70s and 80s, to start painting the stories of their ancestral desert lands they had left more than 40 years prior, and thus sparking an art movement. He went on to become one of Australia’s finest contemporary artists.

  4. 31 May

    Forced by a growing number of complaints of racial discrimination the Queensland government agrees to make a $25 million payout to thousands of Indigenous people who were employed by previous governments on Aboriginal reserves and paid at wages under the award rate in the years 1975 to 1986. The individual payout is $7,000.

    It was the first time any Queensland government openly admitted responsibility for discrimination and by far the largest settlement by any employer in respect of a discrimination matter.

    I grew up hungry. My hunger and malnutrition were a direct result of my family not being paid their full wages and entitlements. — Yvonne Butler, admitted to hospital for malnutrition in 1957 [1]

  5. 26 August

    Federal Parliament issues a statement of deep and sincere regret over the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families.

2000

  1. Cathy Freeman wins gold in the women’s 400m at the Sydney 2000 Olympics. The opening and closing ceremonies celebrated Indigenous cultural identity and history and provided some deft political comment on contemporary Aboriginal issues.

  2. The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, UK returns 500 remains.

  3. An Aboriginal Tent Embassy is set up in Sydney during the Olympic period to attract world media attention to Australian Indigenous issues.

  4. The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation ceases to operate by the end of 2000. It is to be replaced by a new national body, Reconciliation Australia, in 2001.

  5. Australia appears before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Committee criticises the Commonwealth Government's inadequate response to recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report: "While noting the efforts by the State party to address the tragedies resulting from the previous policy of removing indigenous children from their families, the Committee remains concerned about the continuing effects of this policy. The Committee recommends that the State party intensify these efforts so that the victims themselves and their families will consider that they have been afforded a proper remedy."

  6. The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation identifies a treaty as the unfinished business of the reconciliation process and recommends “that the Commonwealth Parliament enact legislation... to put in place a process which will unite all Australians by way of an agreement, or treaty, through which unresolved issues of reconciliation can be resolved.”

  7. Inquiry into the federal government's implementation of the recommendations made by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in Bringing Them Home undertaken by the Senate Legal and Constitutional References Committee results in the Healing: A Legacy of Generations Report.

  8. Prime Minister John Howard rejects a treaty noting a "nation … does not make a treaty with itself".

  9. A poll finds 53% of Australians favoured a treaty, with 34% opposed.

  10. March

    Australia appears before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The committee criticises the government’s inadequate response to recommendations from the Bringing Them Home Report.

  11. 4 April

    The government denies that a 'Stolen Generation' exists in a submission to the Senate inquiry on compensation for children forcibly removed. It stated: "The government is concerned that there is no reliable basis for what appears to be a generally accepted conclusion as to the supposed dimensions of the 'stolen generation'. [...] At most, it might be inferred that up to 10% of children were separated for a variety of reasons, both protective and otherwise, some forcibly and some not. This does not constitute a 'generation' of 'stolen' children. The phrase 'stolen generation' is rhetorical." [2]

  12. May

    The Queensland Aboriginal & Islander Legal Service Secretariat (QAILSS) collects testimony from more than 2,000 people who want to take action against the government for missing, unpaid and underpaid monies.

  13. 27 May

    Corroboree 2000 is held at Sydney Opera House to mark 10 years of work on reconciliation. Here, the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation presents to the nation Corroboree 2000 - Towards Reconciliation which includes the documents ‘Australian Declaration towards Reconciliation’ and ‘Roadmap for Reconciliation’. The roadmap outlines four national strategies to advance reconciliation.

  14. 28 May

    More than 300,000 take part in the People’s Walk for Reconciliation across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

References

View article sources (2)

[1] Stolen Wages committee submissions, www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Legal_and_Constitutional_Affairs/Completed_inquiries/2004-07/stolen_wages/submissions/sublist, submission #21
[2] John Herron, 'A generation was not stolen' (federal government's submission to the Senate inquiry), The Sydney Morning Herald, April 4, 2000

Harvard citation

Korff, J 2019, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=25>, retrieved 21 November 2019

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