Account for the Changing of the Government Policies Towards Aboriginal People over Time

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From the mid nineteenth century, Australian colonial and state governments adopted ‘protective’ policies to control and segregate Aboriginal people from the white population, and from each other. Government policies were enforced by white ‘protectors’ who administered the reserves and had wide-ranging powers. Through the policies of Protection (1901-1940), Assimilation (1950s-1968), Integration (1968) and Self-determination (1972), governments directed where and how Aboriginal people should live. These policies changed over time as a result of internal social activism by Indigenous Australians and the pressure of changing beliefs (Human and civil rights). For most of the nineteenth century the official policy towards Aboriginal Australians was called protectionism; the idea that Aboriginal Australians needed to be separated from white Australians and ‘protected’ for their own good. The protection policy had several aims such as it was believed that the interests of the Indigenous people would best be served by separating them from white people, they were to be herded into government reserves where they might receive a basic education; major attempts made to Christianise them and to wipe out the Aboriginal population. The policy of protection denied Aboriginal people their independence and their basic human rights such as the right to vote and receive a basic wage. “The Governor in Council may make regulations and order; - For prescribing the place where any Aboriginal … shall reside…” was said by the Victorian parliament which indicates that under the policy of Protection, Aborigines had no power in determining where they lived as well as controlling their movements, leisure and sporting activities, work, earnings and possessions and marriages and family life, therefore increasing their dependence on reserves. By the late 1930’s, as it became clear that the Aboriginal people weren’t dying out and that the number of ‘mixed blood’ people was increasing, the...
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