Increasing Freedoms, Ongoing Challenges

Events

The Stolen Generations

1910 - 1970

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are forcibly removed from their families and communities. These children become known as the Stolen Generations.

Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide

1949

Australia is the third country to ratify the 1948 Convention on Genocide.

Refugees

1954

Australia accedes to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees

The Commonwealth Migration Act 1958

1958

The Commonwealth Migration Act 1958 replaces the Immigration Restriction Act of 1901. It omits all reference to race, mandates a simpler system of entry permits and abolishes the dictation test.

Voting Rights

1961

A Commonwealth parliamentary committee recommends that all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people be allowed to vote

Voting Rights 2

1962

The right to vote is extended to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Voter education programs begin and elections are held for Indigenous Community Councils. The Commonwealth Electoral Act is amended to allow Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to vote in federal elections.

Freedom Rides

1965

Activists go on 'Freedom Rides' through rural NSW to protest against the discrimination of Aboriginal people

Migration Act

1966

The Amendment to the Migration Act 1959 begins to dismantle the White Australia policy

1967 Referendum

1967

Australians vote to remove two discriminatory clauses in the Constitution. Following this, Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders are to be counted in the population census but the changes also empower the Commonwealth to pass legislation regarding Indigenous peoples.

Aboriginal Australians in Parliament

1971

The Aboriginal flag is first flown at Victoria Square in Adelaide on National Aboriginies Day. Neville Bonner is the first Indigenous person to become a member of the Australian Federal Parliament when he is sworn into the Senate.