Changing Rights and Freedom

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Changing Rights and Freedoms of Aboriginal People

The rights and freedoms of Aboriginal people have changed significantly during the 20th century after facing many years of neglect and inequalities. In that time, change in indigenous rights and freedoms was brought about as a result of government policies, political activism and legal changes.

Government Policies changed the rights and freedoms of the Aboriginal people. The policy of protectionism was introduced in 1869 which wanted to protect Aboriginals from the effects of violence, diseases and exploitation as a result of European settlement. The policy was based on a certainty that Aboriginal people were doomed to extinction and should be given some protection to live out their last years in peace. This policy was the source behind the stolen generation, where thousands of indigenous people were displaced from families and sent to live with the white population. This policy failed because the indigenous people were not becoming extinct which resulted in the government introducing the policy of Assimilation in 1930s which required Aboriginals to abandon their culture and adopt to the White Australia values to survive. It was anticipated that such integration would improve their way of life. However, the Assimilation Policy did not improve conditions for the Aborigines, and they were denied the most basic of rights - that of being accepted as Australian citizens unless they applied for a "certificate". Applying for a certificate meant denying one's aboriginal heritage and severing all ties with one's own indigenous community.

With the failure of the Protection and Assimilation policies the government introduced the policy of Integration in 1965 which intended to mix the indigenous people with the white population. However the liberal government did little to implement its new policy. When Gough Whitlam became Prime Minister in 1972 he introduced the policy of Self-Determination which recognised...
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