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Changing Rights & Freedoms of Aboriginal People in Australia

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Human Rights
Wordcount: 2649 words Published: 6th Sep 2017

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  • HT5-2: sequences and explains the significant patterns of continuity and change in the development of the modern world and Australia
  • HT5-3: explains and analyses the motives and actions of past individuals and groups in the historical contexts that shaped the modern world and Australia
  • HT5-6: uses relevant evidence from sources to support historical narratives, explanations and analyses of the modern world and Australia
  • HT5-7: explains different contexts, perspectives and interpretations of the modern world and Australia
  • HT5-8: selects and analyses a range of historical sources to locate information relevant to an historical inquiry
  • HT5-9: applies a range of relevant historical terms and concepts when communicating an understanding of the past
  • HT5-10: selects and uses appropriate oral, written, visual and digital forms to communicate effectively about the past for different audiences

In this task you will be assessed on how well you:

  • Show an understanding of the Changing Rights & Freedoms of Aboriginal People in Australia’s history.
  • Present evidence reliant upon the topic you have studied in class during Term One, as well as your own research. This will include the impact of European occupation of Australia; Human Rights; legislation pertaining to Aboriginal Australians from Settlement to the current day.
  • The ability to examine history through a multi-modal presentation.


This assessment will be in THREE PARTS as outlined below.

The year 2017 has seen controversy emerge surrounding the celebration of Australia Day on January 26th. This date coincides with arrival of the First Fleet and the beginning of the loss of rights and freedoms of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

In order to explain to the Australian public why members of the Australian public have protested and campaigned to change the date of Australia Day, Triple J’s ‘Hack’ program has invited you on to the program to provide an explanation of this issue.

You have been provided with the questions prior to your interview in order to prepare your responses.

Complete the scaffolded transcript attached which will form the majority of your response to the interview. You must include a Harvard style bibliography.


Record your response using a recording device and upload to OneNote/Stile (per teacher’s instruction). Your verbal response is an audio recording of your transcript and must be no longer than 5 minutes in length.


You will complete a source analysis (ADAM PRU) of one source during class time in week 6, answering an unseen question. The source will be directly related to what you have studied for Parts A and B.



Transcript of Triple J’s ‘Hack’ program featuring JITHIN ABRAHAM

Presenter: Recent protests and demonstrations have occurred on Australia Day 2017 (26th January) in opposition to the celebration of Australia Day on this date. Why do you think this is?”


Well as we all know Australia day is well known for Captain Cook’s arrival of the First Fleet but, in truth what many of us don’t know is on that same day is what aboriginals call invasion day. This day symbolizes the denial of rights and freedoms of aboriginal people. Just as Paul Keating said, “we failed to make the most basic human response and enter into their hearts and minds” (Redfern speech). During this timeframe, indigenous Australians have experienced discrimination, inequality and lack of opportunity. Shane Howard in Solid Rock sang “Wasn’t long before they felt the sting White man, white law, white gun”. To many Aboriginal’s this day is very little about celebrating and rather about remembering of a deep loss. A Loss of their land, family, and the right to practice their culture.

Presenter: “So what was the nature of the contact between the first settlers and Aboriginal Australians?”


Um, it seems to me the early European settlers were just as curious as aboriginals. For instance, Captain Cook wrote: “I cannot tell if these natives are the most miserable, or the happiest people on earth”. The aborigines were a peaceful and nomadic group of natives. We know the English were told be at good terms between aboriginals. But gradually we realize the strong connection indigenous Australians had with the land was being disrespected as White settlement expanded. Without doubt, we understand white settlers felt vastly superior to the indigenous population leading to violence, prejudice and racism.

Presenter: “Can you explain to the audience the impact this would have had on Aboriginal Australians at this time? Maybe this is why it has been referred to as Invasion Day?”


So, we understand white settlement had a dark and devastating impact on aboriginal Australians. Many aboriginals were forced off their ancestral land and became displaced. This led them to new diseases introduced by settlers, which they had had no immunity too. Just like Djinyini Gondarra said “The land is my mother. Like a human mother, the land gives us protection, enjoyment and provides our needs”. Due to this, they were unable to access food and water, which made them more fragile and powerless. Also during this period violent conflict between settlers arose causing many heartless deaths. The impact of white settlers resulted in a drastic decline in the indigenous population.

Presenter: “You mentioned the government policy of protectionism, what was this exactly?”


Yeah, the policy of protectionism ran for around 68 years and the main idea behind it was to control and separate aboriginal people from the white population and from each other. The policy of protectionism placed restrictions that denied their independence, freedom and basic human rights. Rights such as the where aboriginal people should live were denied and instead, the government directed how aboriginal people should live. The freedom to express their traditional customs were banned. The protector was the legal owner of all personal property rightfully owned by the aboriginal workers. Spending money even to buy basic items was restricted. The freedom to marry whoever had to be granted by white superiors and traditional names were refused. We can clearly understand this policy was very RACIST towards aboriginals.

Presenter: “Can you just outline for the audience the purpose of reservations and missions during this time period? Who were they administered by”


Reserves and missions were enforced by their so-called white ‘protectors’. This meant approval was needed to enter or leave fenced areas. By doing this they excluded aborigines from cities and towns, which achieved their purpose of separating aboriginals from the white population. White superiors were strict and conditions inside these reserves were extremely harsh. Just as R. Broome said, “It was evident at one point the reserves superintendents were at once policeman, judge and jury”.

Presenter: “The toll on the Aboriginal population of Australia must have been horrendous. What were some of the consequences of this policy?”


It was clear that the policies of protection had led to the dispossession, despair and a rapid decline in the size of the Aboriginal population. An Increase in infant mortality, suicide and life expectancy had a great impact. Harsh living conditions directed them to drink and most children lost links with their family and land. Many aborigines missed out on being educated in the language, culture and traditions of their people. Also,numerous mental health problems arose during the lifetime of aboriginal children.

Presenter: “You mentioned assimilation earlier in the program, what was this? Was it another policy put in place by the government?”


Once the government understood the protection policy wasn’t going as planned, with expenses and maintenance in running reserves and missions. The way forward was to absorb aborigines into towns and cities and the wider white community. By doing this Aboriginals would lose their cultural background but instead have their status raised. As part of Assimilation, the certificate of exemption was introduced and it required a denial of all cultural identity. It was only accepted to aborigines who were considered as detribalised and which have worked for the white man.

Presenter: “What would become of full blood Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people during this period?”


Well, full blood aboriginals were excluded from white society and placed in reserves and missions. Where they were ignored and left to die out alongside their culture. All opportunities were put back and they relied on each other to sustain.

Presenter: “And what about those who were deemed half-caste?”


As part of assimilation half-castes were absorbed into the wider white community. In promise of a simpler lifestyle away from the harsh conditions found in reserves. But instead they were seen by the assumption of black inferiority and white superiority.

Presenter: “Just for the benefit of those listeners who have just tuned in, would you mind just defining the term the Stolen Generation?”


The stolen generation were identified as those who were of aboriginal origin and were taken away from their families to be put into church missions, foster families and institutions. Under the act of government.

Presenter: “It sounds as though the impact of this policy was devastating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Can you explain this impact for our listeners out there?”


When aboriginal people arrived in towns and cities and the wider white community, they came up against racism and discrimination. Aborigines were rather excluded from hotels and bars, they could only use swimming pools at certain times and sit in certain places at the cinemas. The most terrible part of the assimilated policy was that it led to children being taken away from their parents and families to be put into foster homes. These were known as the stolen generation.

Presenter: “Do you have an example from the material you have come across from a victim of the Stolen Generation? What was their experience?”

[Your Name]:


Presenter: “By today’s standards, wouldn’t these policies have been a breach of the Declaration of Human Rights? Do you mind just explaining, say three rights that these policies would have contravened?”


Yes, they definitely would have breached the declaration of human rights. These policies have violated rights such as… Um, all adults have the right to marriage and to raise a family. Everyone has the right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their family. And we are all equal before the law and entitled to equal protection of the law.

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Presenter: Wow, some powerful stuff. No wonder that some people are upset with our current celebration of Australia Day on the 26th January. But this isn’t the first time people have protested against the abuse of rights and freedoms of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is it? For the benefit of the audience could you please outline one of these protests?” (Who, what, when, where, why)

[Your Name]:


Presenter: Thank you so much for your time today on “Hack”. Here’s hoping the information you have provided has enlightened some of the more ignorant corners of Australian society.


  • Jens Korff. 2017. Australia Day – Invasion Day. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/history/australia-day-invasion-day. [Accessed 18 February 2017
  • Paul Keating. 1992. Transcript. [ONLINE] Available at: https://antar.org.au/sites/default/files/paul_keating_speech_transcript.pdf. [Accessed 22 February 2017].
  • Shane Howard. 1982. Lyrics. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.top40db.net/lyrics/?SongID=83327. [Accessed 22 February 2017].
  • Skwirk. 2016. First contact with Europeans. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-17_u-455_t-1228_c-4698/first-contact-with-europeans/wa/first-contact-with-europeans/aboriginal-people-and-torres-strait-islanders/contact-with-europeans-the-effects. [Accessed 22 February 2017].
  • Skwirk. 2017. Impact of European settlement on Indigenous people. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-56_u-426_t-1075_c-4149/WA/10/Impact-of-European-settlement-on-Indigenous-people/_tb-v. [Accessed 23 February 2017].
  • Nature and Mind. 2014. Quotes. [ONLINE] Available at: https://mindofnature.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/ten-australian-aboriginal-quotes-and-sayings-on-spirituality-nature-and-humanity/. [Accessed 24 February 2017].
  • R. Broome, Aboriginal Australians – Black responses to white Dominance, 1788-1980, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 1982, pp. 178-9
  • Skwirk. 2016. Life on the reserves. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.skwirk.com/p-c_s-14_u-120_t-327_c-1125/life-on-the-reserves/nsw/history/changing-rights-and-freedoms-aboriginal-people/the-aboriginal-experience. [Accessed 26 February 2017].


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