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1995

  1. The Reserve Bank of Australia issues the $50 polymer banknote showing David Unaipon, a Ngarrindjeri writer, preacher, inventor and advocate for his people, on the front. The banknote features drawings of his innovative mechanical hand-piece for shearing sheep, an extract of the preface of his book Legendary Tales of the Australian Aborigines, and the mission church in Raukkan (Point McLeay Mission), South Australia, the community where he was born.

1996

  1. Northern Territory and Western Australia pass mandatory sentencing laws which affect particularly Aboriginal youths.

  2. Pauline Hanson and her One Nation Party campaign against Aboriginal ‘special treatment’.

  3. Richard Frankland becomes the first Aboriginal director to win an AFI Award for his documentary No Way To Forget.

  4. Australia’s first Aboriginal judge, Robert ‘Bob’ Bellear, is sworn in as a New South Wales District Court judge. Bellear dies on 14 March 2005, aged 60.

  5. The Council for Reconciliation starts its first National Reconciliation Week.

  6. Yothu Yindi release their song Treaty, which combines balanda (non-Aboriginal) and Yolngu lyrics together and is a political response to the Hawke government’s broken promise of a treaty between Aboriginal people and the Australian government by 1990. Treaty peaks at no 11 on the Australian single chart and internationally at no 6 on the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play singles chart. It quickly becomes a timeless protest song in the campaign for Aboriginal rights reform and remains one of Australia's most iconic rock songs.

  7. Paul Harriss (Independent) is elected to the Legislative Council in Tasmania, representing the electorate of Huon.

  8. The Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation organises the first National Reconciliation Week.

  9. Sport

    Aboriginal sprinter, Cathy Freeman, wins a silver medal in the 400 metres run at the Atlanta Olympics, USA, and Nova Peris-Kneebone becomes the first Aboriginal person to win a gold medal for being part of the victorious Australian women’s hockey team.

  10. Land & land rights

    The Jawoyn people in the Katherine region of the Northern Territory sign on to the largest single commercial deal in Australian history involving Aboriginal interests. The signing is a major expansion of Aboriginal involvement in the Pegasus Mt Todd Gold Mine.

  11. Stolen wages

    Seven Palm Island settlement workers win a Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission case against the Queensland government for the deliberate underpayment of wages between 1975 (the date from which it was illegal to racially discriminate; Racial Discrimination Act 1975) and 1986 (when the Queensland government finally paid equal wages). The plaintiffs each won $7,000 compensation.

  12. Land & land rights

    The Wik Decision - the High Court reversed Justice Drummond’s judgement. The High Court found that pastoral leases did not necessarily extinguish native title and that both could co-exist but where there was a conflict native title rights were subordinate to the rights of the pastoral lease holder. The federal government develops ‘Ten Point Plan’ outlining a proposed legislative response to the High Court Wik decision, with the aim of limiting Aboriginal land rights.

1997

  1. The state governments of Australia formally apologise to the Aboriginal people :

    • 27 May 1997: Western Australia (Richard Court, Premier; Geoff Gallop, Leader of the Opposition)
    • 28 May 1997: South Australia (Dean Brown, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs)
    • 3 June 1997: Queensland (K.R.Lingard, Minister for Families, Youth and Community Care)
    • 17 June 1997: Australian Capital Territory (Kate Carnell, Chief Minister)
    • 18 June 1997: New South Wales (Bob Carr, Premier)
    • 13 August 1997: Tasmania (Tony Rundle, Premier)
    • 17 September 1997: Victoria (Jeff Kennett, Premier)
    • 24 October 2001: Northern Territory (Claire Martin, Premier)

    On a national level, prime minister John Howard refuses to apologise to the Stolen Generations for another ten years. He is forced out of office in the federal election in 2007, never having apologised.

    They can't give me back my mother, my lost childhood... but when Bob Carr gave his apology it was a removal of all my mother's guilt, the secret she bore alone... the apology set her free.

    — Aunty Nancy de Vries, taken at 14 months
  2. Hamersley Iron and the Gumala Aboriginal Corporation finalise a unique regional land use agreement making the way of the $500 million Yandicoogina iron ore mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The agreement was the result of 20 months of consultation and negotiation.

  3. Alcan South Pacific Pty Ltd enters into a detailed Heads of Agreement with the Aboriginal community in Weipa, Cape York, Queensland, for a proposed bauxite mining and shipping operation from Alspac’s existing mining lease at Ely, north of Weipa.

  4. In response to the Wik decision the federal government under Howard develops its 10 Point Plan as the basis for amending the Native Title Act 1993. These amendments are introduced in the spring session (September 1997) of the Commonwealth parliament.

  5. The 700-page report of the ‘Stolen Children’ National Inquiry ‘Bringing Them Home’, is tabled in federal parliament. The report concludes that the forcible removal of children was an act of genocide, contrary to United Nations Convention on Genocide, ratified by Australia in 1949. Australians are shocked by the report’s details.

  6. Publication of the Report Into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families, more commonly known as the Bringing Them Home Report. An abbreviated version is called 'Bringing them Home - Community Guide'. The inquiry made 54 recommendations, e.g. reparations and an apology to Aboriginal peoples.

    Key findings:

    • 10 to 33% of the Aboriginal children were removed from their families between 1910 and 1970.
    • The stolen Aboriginal children often suffered physical and sexual abuse and official bodies failed to protect them.
    • Many Aboriginal children were never paid for the work they did ('Stolen Wages').
    • Under international law, from approximately 1946 the policies of forcible removal amount to genocide.
    • The removal of Indigenous children continues today.

    However, there was no process established to monitor, evaluate or review each recommendation (which was the Report's 2nd recommendation).

    I know of no Indigenous person who told their story to the inquiry who wanted non-Indigenous Australians to feel guilty—they just wanted people to know the truth.

    — Mick Dodson
  7. During the opening address of the Reconciliation Convention Premier Minister John Howard refers to the plight of Australia’s Aboriginal people as a mere ‘blemish’, dismissing centuries of dispossession and violence as insignificant. Indigenous delegates in the audience stand and turn their backs on the Prime Minister in protest. The PM snaps and screams at the audience in return.

    In facing the realities of the past, [...] we must not join those who would portray Australia's history since 1788 as little more than a disgraceful record of imperialism [...] such an approach will be repudiated by the overwhelming majority of Australians who are proud of what this country has achieved although inevitably acknowledging the blemishes in its past history.

    — Then-Prime Minister, John Howard

References

View article sources (4)

[1] 'First Nations Peoples and Australian Banknotes - Innovation', Reserve Bank of Australia Museum, available at museum.rba.gov.au/exhibitions/first-nations-peoples-and-australian-banknotes/innovation/
[2] From Dispossession to Reconciliation, John Gardiner-Garden 1999
[3] 'Vale: Nancy de Vries 1932 - 2006', ANTaR newsletter 6/2006 p.5
[4] 'Hands across the nation', Professor Mick Dodson, The Age, 13/2/2008, p.21

Cite this page

Korff, J 2022, Timeline results for , <https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=25>, retrieved 12 August 2022

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