Saturday, January 26, 2013

Happy Australia Day!

Every year, on this day, Australians celebrate the discovery and settlement of their country. Such a beautiful gift that God bestowed on us - an unsettled land for our enjoyment. And we have enjoyed.

1788 marks the end of one dreamtime and the beginning of a new dreamtime - the time to dream of work, commodities, debt and infinite growth. Here is a short list of some of the wonderful memories.

From Wikipedia pages:

Black Line

After many years of conflict between British colonists and the Aborigines known as the Black War, Lieutenant-Governor George Arthur decided to remove all Aborigines from the settled areas in order to end the escalating raids upon settlers' huts. To accomplish this he called upon every able-bodied male colonist, convict or free, to form a human chain that then swept across the settled districts, moving south and east for several weeks in an attempt to corral the Aborigines on the Tasman Peninsula by closing off Eaglehawk Neck (the isthmus connecting the Tasman peninsula to the rest of the island) where Arthur hoped that they could live and maintain their culture and language.

Stolen Generations

The Stolen Generations were the children of Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent who were removed from their families by the Australian Federal and State government agencies and church missions, under acts of their respective parliaments. The removals occurred in the period between approximately 1869 and 1969, although in some places children were still being taken until the 1970s.

Australian referendum, 1967

This gave the Commonwealth parliament power to legislate with respect to Aborigines living in a State as well as those living in a federal Territory. The intent was that this new power for the Commonwealth would be used beneficially, yet despite several opportunities, the High Court has never resolved that it cannot also be used detrimentally. 

Section 127 was wholly removed. Headed "Aborigines not to be counted in reckoning population", it had read:
In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showed that Indigenous people accounted for 25 percent of Australia's prison population in 2009. The age-standardised imprisonment rate [...] meant that the imprisonment rate for Indigenous people was 14 times higher than that of non-Indigenous people.

Land rights and 10 point plan
The Wik Decision in 1996 clarified the uncertainty. The court found that the statutory pastoral leases under consideration by the court did not bestow rights of exclusive possession on the leaseholder. As a result, native title rights could co-exist depending on the terms and nature of the particular pastoral lease. Where there was a conflict of rights, the rights under the pastoral lease would extinguish the remaining native title rights.

The decision found that native title could coexist with other land interests on pastoral leases, which cover some 40% of the Australian land mass.

[The "10 Point Plan" of 1998] provided security of tenure to non-Indigenous holders of pastoral leases and other land title, where that land might potentially be claimed under the Native Title Act 1993.

The Intervention
The measures of the response which have attracted most criticism comprise the exemption from the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the compulsory acquisition of an unspecified number of prescribed communities (Measure 5) and the partial abolition of the permit system (Measure 10). These have been interpreted as undermining important principles and parameters established as part of the legal recognition of indigenous land rights in Australia.

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