Essay on Australian Political And Legal System

Essay on Australian Political And Legal System

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The statement “Over time, particular groups within the Australian political and legal system have been disadvantaged” is valid to a great extent. Indigenous Australians (IA) have been disadvantaged since colonial times. At Federation IA’s were disadvantaged in the Constitution and have continually been discriminated against through statute law, government policy and high court rulings. There has been an increase in black activism over the years however IA’s are still disadvantaged in modern Australia 's political and legal system.
IA were disadvantaged prior to federation. In 1816 a set of regulations were passed controlling the movement of IA’s, deeming no IA is to appear within a mile of any settlement. NSW Governor Sir Richard Bourke in 1835 established the concept of terra nullius, ‘nobody’s land’. This was further upheld in the High Court (HC) case Murrel 1836 in which the HC adopted the concept of terra nullius if empty land is not colonised. An Aboriginal Protection Board was also established to manage the IA population through removing children from families. This was seen as taking care of a dying race. During this time the ‘White Australian Policy’ was underway. Up until the 1920s IA’s were prosecuted and over 20 000 murdered in massacres; well-known ones include Myall Creek, Pinjarra and Hornet Bank massacre.
IA’s were disadvantaged politically and legally in the Constitution. S51xxvi allows the CW gov ‘to make laws for… the people of any race whom it is deemed necessary’. S127 stated that IAs were not to be counted in the census or as the population, classifying them as flora and fauna. This section was removed in 1967 referendum gaining 90.77% yes votes.
Assimilation policy required IA to ‘develop from their form...


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...ralians are still clearly disadvantaged. Since the 1991 Royal Commission into ‘Aboriginal deaths in custody’ 400 IA’s have died in prison. In WA 1926 eleven IA were murdered by police in custody, no prosecution followed. Compare this with the Kevin Spratt incident 2014, where an Indigenous man was tasered 13+ times, no officers were charged and only an internal police inquiry found excessive force was used; little progress has been made in the treatment of IA and their rights in the political and legal system. Voting rights and native title have been established however some could argue that these are basic human freedoms which should have not been denied in the first place. IAs are continually discriminated against and disadvantaged through representation, political participation, high court rulings and government actions. The statement is valid to a large extent.

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