Australia’s Aboriginals

‘When James Cook landed in Australia in 1770, Aboriginals had been there for about 60,000 years. Their 500 or so separate nations lacked kingpins or settled agriculture, so colonisers deemed the land terra nullius, free for the taking. Aboriginals were butchered or displaced, and later their children were stolen and placed in foster care under a cultural assimilation programme that lasted for six decades. They got the vote only in 1962. After a referendum five years later, they were included in the census. But not until 1992 did the high court recognise that they should have some claim over their land,’ (The Economist: ‘The Kiwi Model’, December 01st 2018, p.58).

‘More than 3% of Australia’s 25m people are Aboriginals. Their forebears lived in Australia for perhaps 60,000 years before the British arrived in 1788. Unlike New Zealand’s, Australia’s colonisers never signed any treaties with the original inhabitants. Instead, they first openly persecuted them and then abused them in the name of civilising them. Today, Aboriginals tend to die younger than other Australians and spend more time in prison before they do, among other blights. Successive governments’ efforts to improve their circumstances have disappointed, in part, Aboriginal leaders contend, because Aboriginals do not have enough say in the design of such policies,’ (The Economist: ‘Waiting to be heard’, August 3rd 2019 p.44).

See: Australia, demographics.