As we have already learned, with the British colonisation of Australia came the declaration that the land was “terra nullius” and land was subsequently taken away from the Indigenous people, despite they and their ancestors had lived on the land for thousands of years.
This initial act of taking land lead to an intense struggle by Indigenous peoples to gain right to land that was once theirs.
* The 1970s saw the first major legislation which recognised Aboriginal people’s right to land.
* One of the most important wins for the Indigenous land rights movement was the Mabo Case.
* Eddie Mabo was from the Meriam people, the traditional inhabitants of Murray Island in the Torres Strait.
* In 1982, Mabo presented the High Court of Australia with a declaration of his region’s land rights.
* After a long court battle for recognition, the Mabo case was handed down in 1992.
child removals was the “right thing” for them.
It is not known exactly how many Aboriginal children were taken away between 1909 and 1969- poor record keeping, the loss of records and changes to department have made it also impossible to trace the histories of families and individuals
In 1995 the Commonwealth Attorney General established a National Inquiry into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families.
The Inquiry report, Bringing Them Home, was released in May 1997- The report outlined the devastating impact the child removal policies had on children and their families. It found that many of the institutions and homes in which the children were placed were very cruel, and sexual and physical abuse of the children was common.
It found that many of the people who managed the removals, including both the government and churches, abused their power and breached their supposed obligations as protectors and ‘carers’.
In 2007 a new Labor Government was elected, and promised to finally make an official...