Indigenous People And Australian Politics Essay

Question:

Discuss About The Indigenous People And Australian Politics?

Answer:

Introduction

In Australia, like in many countries that comprise of indigenous and immigrants’ people, the United States of America and South Africa is an example, there has been policies or legislations put to limit the freedom and rights of indigenous people. In particular, Australia comprises of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the indigenous while British and other minority groups form the immigrant population. However, upon the arrival of British settlers in Australia, several policies were put in place to alienate not only the Aboriginal people but also the Strait Islander people who were indigenous. The policies appeared to be depriving them of their rights, both political and social ones.

Therefore, in this essay, I intend to highlight and elaborates on some of the policies that the settlers or ruling class in Australia put in place that deprived the Aboriginal people of their rights, both political and social rights. Additionally, the essay also explains whether the indigenous people enjoy full rights as part of the larger Australian population or there still exist problems, especially on the most pertinent issues. The essay takes the position that still; important problems face the indigenous people.

Social and Political rights in Australia

Social rights denote the rights involving contact of one person to another, for instance, right to socializing, right to education or management. On the other hand, political rights are those that involve participation in the administration of a place or country, for instance, right to vote, or be part of the people that govern or make laws (Broome, 2002). In Australia for instance, for a long time, the settlers or immigrants forms the ruling class and have influenced the manner in which policies are made, especially those touching on social and political rights. Even though the country had established one of the most progressive constitutions in the early 1900s, it however, had and continues to pass policies and act in a manner that deprived the rights of the Aboriginal people. Therefore, the Aboriginal people were not allowed to access the best medical services, attend schools and regarded as wayward and lesser human beings. The discussion below gives some of the policies that deprived the right of the Aboriginal people.

Abuses against the Aboriginal people

The Australian government is to blame for most Aboriginal people are underpaid or generally can be described as underprivileged workers. The Australian government effectively control and restrict them into reserves or in religious missions (Broome, 2010). Over the years, the Australian Federal and also state government have produced policies that encourage irrational prejudice which is cultivated over the years by a government that cultivate her citizen to discriminate against the indigenous community. To start with, the Aboriginal people were not allowed to vote on as they were not regarded us inferior citizens, even though recent amendment has granted them with voting rights, the mentality is still there. In addition to that, during the establishment of the white settlers in the country, most of their land was confiscated thus displacing them, which in effect disrupted most of their social structure (Ferdinand, Paradies, & Kelaher, 2013). In addition to that, as of early 1900, the white settlers exposed them the Aboriginal people to degradation, starvation and disease which nearly wiped out the entire population from the Australia.

In addition to that, the government developed policies that aimed at acquiring cheap labor and restricting the movement of the Aboriginal people. Firstly, the ruling white settlers of Australian who were and still are the ruling class introduced the Protection Acts (Walker, 2001). The aim of the acts was to deny the Aboriginal of their democratic rights and personal freedom so that the government can get a source of cheap labor. The Acts which the government argues was meant to protect the interest of the Aboriginal was effectively being used as a tool to segregate a huge number of the Aboriginal into white settlements and dismantling their social structure. Also, it is not until 1967, that the Aboriginal people were granted mandate to be censored as part of Australian citizens (Cunneen, 2006). In general, the white settler’s government that formed the Australian government made several policies that in effect forbade the Aborigines the right to organize or control their social affairs. Also, the policies deprived them of educational and health services in addition to treating them as second class citizens.

Legislations or policies that deprived the Aboriginals of their social and political rights

There are several policies that the Australian introduced since the early of 1900 when that was meant to introduce a repressive system against the Aboriginal people. The repressive policies have deprived the Aboriginal people of their social and political rights, to start with, the government of Australia in 1908 introduced the Western Australian Aborigines Act. The function of the Act was to alienate the Aboriginal especially by controlling their employment.

In addition to that, in 1909, the Australian Government introduced NSW Aborigines Protection Act as a result of the crises that occurred in school. This was motivated by the white community of Australian who wanted to discriminate and not associate with the Aboriginal children (Cuthbert, & Quartly, 2013). The teacher that trained the Aborigines children was usually the untrained wife of the manager they worked for. This was a violation of their rights and deprivation of their social rights, both of socializing and getting education. In addition to that, from 1915 to 1918, there were amendments that were made to the act to give a board that was known as Aborigines Protection Board greater mandates to alienate or to remove the children of Aborigines from school and train them as domestic servants. The amendment successfully deprived the Aborigines of their social rights in that they were not allowed to interact with other children of the whites’ settlers. In addition to that, the two amendments made it possible for the whites to view the Aborigine’s children as a source of labor for them

Moreover, the women of the Aborigines were discriminated and provision of maternity health care allowance, were introduced but never covered them.

In 1918, the Australian government introduced the Northern Territory Aboriginal Act that aimed at segregating the Aborigines against better lifestyle. In particular, the act limited and outlawed possession or supply of either alcohol or ethylated spirit to the Aborigines. Furthermore, the act limited their act of possessing firearms. On the issue of romantic relations, the Aborigines were barred from making love across the color lines. Also, the act made it possible for them not to marry women or men from non-aborigines people (Reading, & Wien, 2009). The act was a gross violation of not only the elementally social rights, but also, their political rights in the sense that they were not allowed to possess fire arms to protect themselves against any acts that posed danger to their lives. Thus, it was one way that the Australian government, or more specifically, the immigrants which comprised of majority white settlers did to successfully deprive them of their social and political rights.

Lastly, other policies that have successfully deprived the political and social rights include but are not limited to the 1936 Act that allowed the Aborigines people to be taken into custody without having a proper trial and prevented them from entering certain towns without having a permit. In addition to that, in the total way of depriving the Aborigines people of their social rights, in 1937, was that of Assimilation, a policy that stipulated that the fate of the Aborigines people lied in their assimilation into the white majority whether they deemed it fit or no (Marmot, 2005). In addition to that, the assimilation policy highlighted that those not willing were to continue living in reserves and without proper education. The policy that was advocated by most white settlers, both ruling and ordinary citizens deprived the Aborigines of their social and political rights.

Important problems still remain among Aborigines

Despite the fact that there have been several legislations put in place to improve the living conditions of the Aborigines, still, they suffer from poor health, high rates of mortality as compared to the general Australian population and lower level of both education and unemployment (Eades, 2000).

The Aborigines continue to pose high mortality rate despite the fact that access to health care is available to all the people of Australia including the Aborigines. This is a social issue that is affecting the indigenous Aborigines which need to be solved for the country to claim that it embraces fairness and equality among all people of Australia (Agius, Howitt, & Jarvis, 2003). Statistics indicate that the highest number of those visiting the hospital is the indigenous people of Australia; this is reflective of how their health is pathetic as compared to the larger Australian community.

Moreover, the Aborigines are among the least educated people in Australia, despite having a constitution that guarantee equal opportunity to all Australian irrespective of where they come or place (Beresford, Partington, & Gower, 2012). However, the region where the Aborigines live is less developed as compared to areas dominated by white settlers. Thus, one can argue that even though the government is trying to bring equality to the people of Australia. The Aborigines continue to be suffering from the ill of the past which are present and some which are perpetuated by the modern day ruling class.

Lastly, the racial segregation is still in place in Australia. The Aborigines continue to be segregated based on the color of their skin and the perceived notion that they are an inferior race. The whites or immigrant of Australia who form the largest percentage of the ruling class in Australia still perceive the Aborigines as inferior race and one that is less advanced as the whites. Therefore, it in effect affects their representation in senior position in government (Thorburn, 2013). Thus, the people continue to suffer racial segregation, and do not have full right in regard to social and political rights Accounting .

Conclusion

The Aborigines, for a long time, have been deprived of their social and political rights. The white immigrant of Australia has made this possible through the introduction of policies aimed at not only segregating the Aborigines but also denying them some of their social and political rights like voting, good education and respect of their culture and, way of life. Some of the policies put in place to achieve were that of 1908 aimed at controlling their employment, which is the Western Australian Aborigines Act. Also, there was the NSW Aborigines Protection Act aimed at alienating Aborigine children and Northern Territory Aboriginal Act that aimed at segregating the Aborigines against better lifestyle among other things. Even though the government of Australia has tried to bring equality through legislations, Aborigine continues to suffer from poor health, unemployment, illiteracy and racial segregation in addition to having few people in top government positions.

References

Broome, R. L. (2002). Aboriginal Australians, black responses to white dominance 1788-2001.

Broome, R. (2010). Aboriginal Australians. A History Since 1788.

Ferdinand, A., Paradies, Y., & Kelaher, M. (2013). Mental health impacts of racial discrimination in Victorian Aboriginal communities. Lowitja Institute.

Walker, I. (2001). The changing nature of racism: From old to new. Understanding prejudice,racism, and social conflict, 24-42.

Cunneen, C. (2001). Conflict, politics and crime: Aboriginal communities and the police.

Eades, S. J. (2000). Reconciliation, social equity and Indigenous health. Aboriginal and Islander Healthcare Worker Journal, 24(3), 3.

Beresford, Q., Partington, G., & Gower, G. (Eds.). (2012). Reform and resistance in Aboriginal education. Sussex Academic Press.

Folds, R. (2001). Crossed Purposes: the Pintupi and Australia's indigenous policy. Thomas Telford.

Cuthbert, D., & Quartly, M. (2013). Forced child removal and the politics of national apologies in Australia. The American Indian Quarterly, 37(1), 178-202.

Agius, P., Howitt, R., & Jarvis, S. (2003, June). Different Visions, Different Ways: lessons and challenges from the native title negotiations in South Australia. In Native Title Conference.

Thorburn, K. E. (2013). 'Indigenous governance'and Aboriginal political practice: The gulf between in two organisations in the Fitzroy Valley, West Kimberley.

Marmot, M. (2005). Social determinants of health inequalities. The Lancet, 365(9464), 1099-1104.

Reading, C. L., & Wien, F. (2009). Health inequalities and the social determinants of Aborig peoples' health. Prince George, BC: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health.

Cunneen, C. (2006). Racism, discrimination and the over-representation of Indigenous people in the criminal justice system: Some conceptual and explanatory issues.

How to cite this essay: