History

Timeline results for 1970 to 1999

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1979

  1. By 1979 NSW Land Trust had gained 144 properties, all former Aboriginal reserves.

  2. The NSW Aboriginal Education Advisory Group re-forms as NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, representing communities statewide, and later recognised as a principal source of advice to the government on Aboriginal education.

  3. The National Aboriginal Conference resolves that a treaty should be concluded between Aboriginal people and the Australian government. It decides to use a word from an Aboriginal language for the process: Makarrata, a Yolngu word.

  4. The first Aboriginal parliamentarian, Neville Bonner, receives the Australian of the Year award. Famous Aboriginal people

  5. A group of prominent non-Aboriginal Australians form the Aboriginal Treaty Committee, chaired by economist Herbert Cole 'Nugget' Coombs (the first Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia). For five years the Committee tries to educate and persuade non-Aboriginal Australians to the idea of a treaty. It receives no support from the government.

    A national consultation is initiated, culminating in a report of the federal Parliament that recommended the government consider a treaty.

  6. Cyril Kennedy (Australian Labor Party) is the first Aboriginal person to be elected to the Victorian Legislative Council, representing the electorate of Waverley.

  7. The Western Australian Supreme Court grants an injunction against the American-based Amax company which wants to explore Aboriginal-owned Noonkanbah pastoral lease for oil. The cattle and sheep station in the state’s northwest was purchased by the Commonwealth for local Aboriginal people, who were surprised to find that 497 mining leases and an oil exploration permit had already been granted on their land. Test drilling finally went ahead despite Aboriginal resistance, supported by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people across Australia. In 2007 Aboriginal people win native title rights over land including the station.

  8. Treaty

    Protesters at Capital Hill, Canberra, demand the the federal government to enter treaty negotiations with Aboriginal people. The Prime Minister advises that he would discuss the matter of a treaty with the National Aboriginal Conference, the elected body representing Aboriginal people. The NAC, aware of the government's opposition to the word 'treaty', chooses to use the Yolgnu word 'Makarrata', which was first published as meaning 'the resumption of normal relations at the end of a conflict', but later known to mean 'pay-back killings between families or tribes'.

  9. Treaty

    Aboriginal activist Kevin Gilbert writes to the Prime Minister identifying the key issues of Aboriginal Nations' sovereignty, the need for a treaty, and a Bill of Rights.

    In his reply, the prime minister concludes that he and his government are prepared to consider a treaty with the elected body the National Aboriginal Conference.

    I shall be pleased to discuss the concept of a treaty with the National Aboriginal Conference.

    — Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser

1980

  1. Dispute at Noonkanbah, Western Australia, over drilling on sacred sites draws national and international attention to Aboriginal rights.

  2. Jim Hagan is the first Australian Aboriginal person to address the United Nations in Geneva taking Indigenous matters to the international stage when the Fraser government fails to stop mining on sacred sites on Noonkanbah Station, about 300 kms west of Broome in northwest Western Australia.

  3. The Pitjantjatjara Council advises the Aboriginal Affairs Minister of the possible radioactive contamination of Aboriginal people at Wallatinna Station, South Australia, as a result of atomic bomb tests. The ‘Black Mist’ of 1953 is brought to public attention with symptoms of sight loss and skin rashes reported. A number of Aboriginal people die and up to 1,000 are directly affected as a result of the bombs exploded by the British military with Australian government approval. Aboriginal people living in the area were not informed about the explosions.

  4. Ernie Bridge (Australian Labor Party) becomes the first Aboriginal member of the Parliament of Western Australian when he wins the seat of Kimberley. He later becomes the first Aboriginal person to hold a ministerial office.

  5. Link-Up (NSW) Aboriginal Corporation established. Followed by Link-Up (Qld) in 1988, Link-Up (Darwin) in 1989, Link-Up (Tas) in 1991, Link-Up (Vic) in 1992, Link-Up (SA) in 1999, Link-Up (Alice Springs) in 2000, and Link-Up (WA- seven sites) in 2001. Link-Up provides family tracing, reunion and support for forcibly removed children and their families (Stolen Generations).

1981

  1. Pitjantjatjara people of South Australia are granted land under the Pitjantjatjara Land Rights Act (SA). A large area of the state is returned to the Anangu Pitjantjatjara. Anangu Pitjantjatjara, a corporate body, is established to administer some 100,000 square kms of land for the Anangu people.

  2. Secretariat of the National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care established (SNAICC). SNAICC represents the interests on a national level of Australia’s 100 or so Indigenous community-controlled children’s services.

  3. Michael Anderson, the only surviving founder of the Aboriginal Tent Embassy, becomes the first Aboriginal Australian to address the United Nations.

  4. Treaty

    The Australian government takes issue with using the word 'treaty' in the context of Aboriginal sovereignty in a letter by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Peter Baume: "Although the word 'Treaty' is occasionally used in the domestic context... [it] is ordinarily used to refer to a kind of international agreement. In that sense it is clearly inapplicable to any form of agreement between the Commonwealth and Aborigines since the latter are not a 'nation'."

    The Senate resolved on 24 September 1981 that the Senate Standing Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs should examine the feasibility... of servicing a compact or Makarrata between the Commonwealth Government and Aboriginal Australians.

    — Peter Baume, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs
  5. Treaty

    The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Mr. Peter Baume, writes to the then Chairperson of the National Aboriginal Conference, Mr. Bill Bird, in response to a letter advising him of the 27 items that had emerged as a preliminary list of matters that were being considered for inclusion in the Makarrata/treaty.

1982

  1. The National Aboriginal Conference developed its own proposal which created a way for every Aboriginal nation to negotiate its own treaty, compact or agreement and it avoided nations being forced into a single national proposal.

References

View article sources (2)

[1] [1a] 'Makarrata v Treaties', Sovereign Union 18/8/2017
[2] [2a] ''That Word' Treaty - The Value of Historical Insights', National Unity Government, retrieved 22/6/2016

Cite this page

Korff, J 2022, Timeline results for 1970 to 1999, <https://stage.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/timeline/searchResults?page=5&q=&category=any&yearFrom=1970&yearTo=1999>, retrieved 2 July 2022

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