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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have faced disadvantages

in various areas, particularly housing. The disadvantages these people

face now are the result of policies introduced by the European

settlers, then the government. The policies introduced were

protection, assimilation, integration and self-determination. It is

hard to understand the housing disadvantages faced by Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander people if their history is not known.

In 1788 when the European settlers “colonised” Australia, the

Australian land was known as “terra nullius” which means “land

belonging to no-one”. This decision set the stage for the problems and

disadvantages faced by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

people for 216 years.

The protection policy was meant to disperse tribes and force

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people off their traditional

land so the “white Australian’s” could have more control. The

protection policy enforced by the British colonies drove the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander onto reserves. These reserves

were run by religious missionaries and supervised by the Aboriginal

Protection Board from 1883. The protection policy was reinforced by

the Aborigines Protection Act (NSW) 1909. This Act was in force until

1969. The Act allowed police to withhold rations to pressure the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to move and expelled

whole clans from specific districts.

Conditions were extremely poor on the reserves. There was little to no

hygiene facilities. Often the “houses” were actually tin shacks with

dirt floors. The police issued ...

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... housing for Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander people under the “Housing for Aborigines

Program”.

The actions of the State and Federal Government(s) have being

questionable over the centuries since the ‘colonization’ of Australia,

but as Australia becomes more of a multicultural and multi-racial

society

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people acceptance is rising. The

disadvantages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people face is

decreasing slowly by the government as introduce legislation and form

commissions. There will always be problems for Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander people in relation to housing, but the Australia is

heading in the right direction to correct this problem and provide a

much better future for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

and the whole of Australia.

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