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Australia's First Peoples - still struggling for protection against racial discrimination

Bielefeld, Shelley and Altman, Jon (2015). Australia's First Peoples - still struggling for protection against racial discrimination. In: 40 Years of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (CTH) Conference, Sydney, Australia, 19 - 20 February 2015.

Document type: Conference Paper
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IRMA ID 84376995xPUB313
Author Bielefeld, Shelley
Altman, Jon
Title Australia's First Peoples - still struggling for protection against racial discrimination
Conference Name 40 Years of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (CTH) Conference
Conference Location Sydney, Australia
Conference Dates 19 - 20 February 2015
Conference Publication Title Perspectives on the Racial Discrimination Act: Papers From the 40 Years of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (CTH) Conference
Place of Publication Sydney, NSW
Publisher Australian Human Rights Commission
Publication Year 2015
Start Page 196
End Page 206
Total Pages 11
HERDC Category E1 - Conference Publication (DIISR)
Abstract Martin Luther King stated that ‘[i]njustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality ... Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly’.1 This quote has pertinence for any discussion of racial discrimination. Still strongly affected by its colonial legacy, Australia offers very little by way of robust protection for Australia’s First Peoples. The Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth) (‘RDA’) is an important enactment amidst Australia’s long history of racially discriminatory legislation. During the Second Reading speech of the RDA in the Senate in 1974, Lionel Murphy indicated that the RDA’s purpose is to implement ‘into Australian law the obligations contained in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination’.2 He stated that the discrimination experienced by Indigenous Australians was ‘[p]erhaps the most blatant example of racial discrimination in Australia’.3 He referred to ‘remnants of legislative provisions of the paternalistic type based implicitly on the alleged superiority of the white race’ and founded on an assumption that Indigenous peoples were ‘unable to manage their own personal affairs and property’.4 Murphy stressed that the government had a responsibility to address the poverty of Indigenous peoples, stating ‘Aborigines are the poorest of the poor in our community. It is clear that past wrongs must be put right so far as the Aboriginal population is concerned and that special measures must be provided’.5 It was clearly the intention that the RDA would be deployed to redress these circumstances of grave injustice. Tragically, many of Murphy’s comments still have currency over 40 years later.
Description for Link Link to conference proceedings
URL https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/race-discrimination/publications/perspectives-racial-discrimination-act-papers-40-years
 
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Created: Tue, 26 Jul 2016, 12:12:05 CST