Civil Rights Movement Essay

Submitted By ashsha3
Words: 1206
Pages: 5

Evaluate the effectiveness of the campaigns for Indigenous rights in Australia in the period 1967-2014
The 1967 referendum was a very vital part for us Australians. It consisted of Australians voting to fix the constitution about including Aboriginal people in the census and allowing the Commonwealth to create proper laws for them. There a lot of misunderstandings about the 1967 referendum, the truth is that the referendum did not give Aboriginal people the right to vote, did not grant them citizenship, and was not about equal rights for Aboriginal people. The 1967 referendum meant that Indigenous people and non-Indigenous people were all required to follow the same laws set out by the government, and that Indigenous people would be recognised and counted (in elections and the census) in all states and territories of Australia. The 1967 referendum succeeded in making the government aware of the changing attitudes of the Australian population towards the Indigenous people. After this referendum took place, Australia's Indigenous people followed the laws of all other people and laws of both state and the Commonwealth.
Wave Hill Station is located approximately 600 kilometres south of Darwin in the Northern Territory. Vesteys, a British company which ran a cattle station, employed local Aboriginal people, mostly Gurindji people. Working and living conditions for Aboriginal people were very poor. The wages of Aboriginal workers were controlled and not equal to those wages paid to non-Aboriginal employees. The campaign, Wave Hill Walk Off, consisted of Vincent Lingiari, a Gurindji spokesman, who led a walk-off of 200 Aboriginal stockmen, house servants, and their families from Wave Hill as a protest against the work and pay conditions. The strike was part of a widespread campaign begun by workers on Brunette Downs Station and supported by non-Indigenous people, including unionists and the famous author, Frank Hardy. This campaign was an important influence on the events that led to the passing of the Aboriginal Land Rights Act in Northern Territory in 1976.
Freedom Rides was a campaign against racial segregation. Their goal was to desegregate the public and local facilities in Chestertown. The public facilities that were segregated were hospitals, theatres, restaurants, bowling alleys, and skating rinks. They were banned from sitting down to eat in many local bars and restaurants; take-away were preferred. The Freedom Riders, would sit and ride in a bus together around Walgett, Gulargambone, Kempsey, Bowraville and Moree. The Freedom Riders were extremely shocked at the living conditions in which Aboriginal people had to endure outside the towns. In the towns Aboriginal people were routinely barred from clubs, swimming pools and cafes. They were frequently refused service in shops and refused drinks in hotels. The freedom riders had been extremely successful in publicising the discrimination faced by Aboriginal Australians. As a result of the Freedom Rides, the U.S. began to enforce interstate travel laws. Passengers could sit wherever they wanted on buses and trains. Waiting rooms, drinking fountains and bathrooms were integrated. Another significant outcome of the freedom ride was that it empowered the Aboriginal people of rural towns to fight for change. Risking their lives, the Freedom Riders helped bring some equality to the Indigenous people. The Freedom Rides had also led people –both Indigenous and non-Indigenous- to join the Civil Rights Movement.
In 1973, Eddie Koiki Mabo was shocked to discover that the land on Murray Island, passed down by his ancestors for over sixteen generations was not legally recognised as his own. Rather than accept this injustice, Eddie began an epic ten-year fight for Australian law to recognise traditional land rights. This is when they claimed the land, ‘terra nullius’ and the Native Title Act was passed. Another famous case was the Wik case which involved the ownership of land which had…