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Changing Rights and Freedoms
Transcript of Changing Rights and Freedoms
Kevin Rudd's Apology in 2008
Changing Rights and Freedoms?
"Human rights, human freedoms, and human dignity are as powerful as they are because, under certain circumstances, people accept them without compulsion and yet are willing to die for them."
- Vaclav Havel, Czech playwright and politician.
What is significant about the apology?
How has it impacted people?
What happened on these dates?
Aboriginal Day of Mourning
Why is this day significant?
In groups of 2 or 3, examine your allocated policy for the following (p.281-284 in your textbook) and create a ppt slide explaining the following:
Give a brief description of the policy you are exploring.
Why was the policy introduced?
What effect did it have on the Aboriginal peoples in the past and now?
What are past and current issues linked to the rights of Indigenous people?
Brainstorm with the person next to you.
Let's create a class list of issues to discuss.
We will continue talking about these issues throughout this topic.
On Australia Day in 1938, they celebrated the 150th anniversary of white settlement in Australia.
The Day of Mourning was used as a way of demanding for basic rights that the Aboriginal peoples deserved.
Explain the significance of Sorry Day and Kevin Rudd's Apology in relation to this.
The Stolen Generations
Why is family particularly important for the Aboriginal peoples?
Think about this:
By the late 1980s, >100 000 people of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent had:
- lost links with family and land
- lost their understanding of kinship
- missed out on being educated in the language, culture and traditions of their people.
They are called the Stolen Generations: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who, while children, Australian state and territory governments separated from their families, usually by forcibly removing them.
What were the varying experiences of the Stolen Generations?
The Stolen Generations
In 1995, the Keating government established an inquiry led by Sir Ronald Wilson, into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from Their Families. This resulted in the 'Bringing Them Home' Report.
This is explained further in p.301-302 in the textbook.
Reconciliation: What is it? Why is it important?
Kinship: special bonds that link an individual to the extended family group. It includes an understanding of the value of sharing and being able to rely on the support of family members and those who understand the Dreamtime. It also involves respect for elders who pass on the important traditions, values and stories within the Indigenous culture and serve as role models for younger members.
Activity: Read p.156-157. As we read through this, consider our discussion on human rights and freedoms last lesson.
Task: Research a woman OR man who was from the Stolen Generations.
(Boys research a woman, girls research a man).
Write a Facebook profile using the Fakebook website about your chosen individual, including a number of wall post to demonstrate their experiences.
Be ready to explain your choices and to show your profile next lesson.
Reconciliation: building bridges of understanding between two parties, recognising past injustices and an understanding of how relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians have been shaped by past events, policies and attitudes.
Activity: read the extracts from the 'Bringing Them Home' report and Sir Ronald Wilson's interview (on p.302-303) and answer the questions.
The Freedom Rides
Do you think the treatment of the Aboriginal peoples was fair? Why or why not?
Which policy was the most effective? Or if you disagree with all of them, do you have a better suggestion?
"Being part of a family is important." Do you agree or disagree?
Then, write your understanding of the effect of the Stolen Generations on children and their families leading to the need for reconciliation in an interview. Do this task in pairs and be ready to present it to the class.
Examining sources on the Stolen Generations
The Kinchela Boys Home at Kempsey, NSW, was among the worst of the ‘homes’ to which authorities sent children. It was for Aboriginal boys aged from about 7 to 14 and they went there to gain a basic education and to learn farming and some basic manual labour tasks.
Discipline was strict, treatment harsh and punishment severe. Child Welfare officers rarely inspected this institution or checked on what it was doing to investigate negative reports about how the superintendent ran the Home and treated the boys in his charge.
Staff referred to the boys as ‘inmates’. The day began early with farming tasks before breakfast and no breakfast for those who finished late. Then came school (on the premises and with untrained teachers) until 3 pm, followed by an additional two to four hours’ work as farm labourers before being sent to bed at about 8pm.
For Ms Huen's Y10 classes.
Significance of the Freedom Rides:
- Captured attention of the media.
- Start of the process of activism to improve the situation of the Aboriginal Australians.
- Challenged others to be working for justice for Aboriginal Australians.
- Many people believed that the Freedom Rides led to the 1967 Referendum.
Write a newspaper article in pairs about the 'freedom rides' from one of the following perspectives including their names (see p.287-291 for more info):
- Impartial reporter.
- Individual involved in the 'freedom rides'.
- Individual against the 'freedom rides'.
Experiences of the 'freedom ride' in Walgett and Moree.
Walgett: protests against the RSL club (refuses to let Aboriginals become members, even if they served in WWII).
Moree: councils did not allow Aboriginal people to be in the same hospital wards as whites and Aboriginal children could not use the local swimming pool unless they were part of a school group.
Do you agree with Hunt's belief that 'this is what reconciliation is truly about'? Why or why not?
The Aborigines Protection Board established the Bomaderry Aboriginal Children's Home (near Nowra in NSW) with the intention of replacing ‘original family ties with a new family unit, created according to a European Christian model’. Many remember this as a happier and more caring place than other institutions, at the same time emphasising that whatever care they received could not make up for what they had lost.
In 1912, the Aborigines Protection Board established the Cootamundra Domestic Training Home for Girls. It was a home for Aboriginal girls from about 7 to 14, who had been forcibly removed from their parents to train as domestic servants for white families.
- denied the girls any contact with their own families
- taught them nothing about their own cultures and traditions
- forbade the use of their traditional languages
- punished anyone who contravened these rules.
From the 1950s onwards, governments were tending to put Indigenous children into foster care or up for adoption rather than into institutions (to save money). By the early 1960s, they had begun to see institutional care as encouraging segregation rather than the assimilation (which was their goal).
From about 1950-1960, authorities put as many as 17% of Indigenous children up for adoption. In NSW, during the 1960s, authorities placed 300 Indigenous children in foster care. Some children went to three or four different foster homes before being permanently placed. Some of the foster and adoptive parents were well meaning and wanted to help the children they took in. Others saw the children as a resource from which they could benefit.
From these different stories, what effect did the Stolen Generations have on children and their families?
Revision: What does it mean to be an Australian citizen?
Australian Constitution written in 1901: only makes 2 references to Aboriginal people and both of these references were aimed at excluding them from participation in the life of the new nation.
- Section 127: 'in reckoning the number of people in the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted'
- Section 51: the Constitution gave the federal government the power to pass laws about 'the people of any race other than the aboriginal race in any State'
What does this mean for the Aboriginal peoples?
To include Aboriginal Australians in the census and to give the Commonwealth government power to make laws on behalf of Aboriginal people required a change to the Constitution. In order to change the Constitution, they required a referendum. In 1967, the Holt government agreed to hold this referendum.
Before 1967, the state had exclusive powers to make laws for Aboriginal people within their boundaries. After 1967, both the states and Commonwealth had that power.
Debate: "The 1967 Referendum was the most successful referendum in Australian history."
How has the 1967 Referendum changed the rights of Aboriginal peoples in Australia?
How have people's attitudes towards Aboriginal Australians changed over time?
Land Rights and Native Title
Terra Nullius: Latin for 'the land belonged to no one'.
This was used by the British when they started white settlement in Australia in 1788. This was due to their belief that since Aboriginal Australians had not farmed the land, it was not owned by anyone. According to British law, the land was uninhabited. So Captain Cook claimed all of the east coast of Australia for Britain.
For almost 2 centuries, the white people ignored the fact that Aboriginal Australians had land rights. But by the 1960s, the situation began to change.
Look at p. 293 at Source 6.6 and answer the source questions.
1992: great turning point in the land rights struggle.
Question: Did Aboriginal people legally own the land before white settlement began?
In 1982, a group of people from the Mer (Murray) Islands in the Torrest Strait, led by Eddie Mabo took a case to the Supreme Court of Queensland, claiming that they had ownership of the islands since their people had lived on the islands long before the arrival of white settlement.
While the Queensland Supreme Court dismissed the case, Eddie Mabo and 4 other Islanders took the matter to the High Court of Australia. They requested that the court declare their traditional rihts to the land and seas of the Mer Islands had not been extinguished. In addition, they claimed that the Crown's sovereignty (authority) over the islands was subject to the land rights of the Murray Islanders (traditionally known as the Meriam people). They, on behalf of their people were challenging the concept of terra nullius.