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1. Australia was regarded as empty land by the British because when the Europeans came to Australia they believed that because Aborigines didn't cultivate the land and were not seen to use the land in a normal, proprietarial sense and also because the Aborigines believed that they didn't own the land and they belonged to the land, the land therefore regarded as void. The law also states that Aboriginals didn't exist in 1788 and therefore no treaties could exist because the Aboriginals didn't exist.
2. Before 1788, there were between 500-700,000 people living throughout the country with a history going back some 60,000 years. The Aborigines lived primarily off the land. They fished in the waters, hunted on the land and harvested food from surrounding areas. Self-sufficient and harmonious, the Aboriginals sometimes felt the need for travel because the land was not abundant enough. The trade between tribes was well established. Aboriginals spent part of their days working to ensure their survival, therefore with such a large amount of leisure time available, they developed a rich and complex ritual life, including language, customs, spirituality, and the law, the heart of which was connection to the land.
3. Without a treaty, Aboriginal peoples had no rights under British rule, and most were driven from their land and at worse tribes were systematically slaughtered.
4. Freedom Rides- of 1965 were a significant event in the history of civil rights for indigenous Australians. Students from Sydney Uni formed a group called the Student Action for Aboriginals, led by Charles Perkins among others and traveled into New South Wales country towns on what some of them considered a fact finding mission. What they encountered was segregation; the students protested picketed and faced violence by raising the issue of Indigenous Affairs. They commonly stood protesting for hours at segregated areas such as pools, parks and pubs.
The Aboriginal Tent embassy is a controversial semi permanent assemblage claiming to represent the political rights of Australian Aborigines. It is made of a large group of activists, signs, and tents that reside on the lawn of Old Parliament House in Canberra. On Australia day 1972, the Tent Embassy was established in response to the McMahon Coalition Government's refusal to recognise Aboriginal land rights and saw a new general purpose lease for Aboriginals which would be conditional upon their intention and ability to make reasonable economic and social use of the land' and it would exclude all rights they had to mineral and forest rights.
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5. a.) Australian Aboriginal culture appears to be the oldest continuous living culture on the planet, scientifically proven do date back at least 40 000 years and some evidence points to dates over 60 000 years. The trademark of Aboriginal culture is the oneness with nature'. To the traditional Aborigine all of nature has an essence of Australian Aboriginal godliness' and sacredness. Nature has its own stories of creation and interconnectedness with Aboriginal people. But despite this long history, connection to the land, under British colony, Aboriginals had no land rights and were driven from THEIR land. Even today Aboriginals have to live on the fringes of white society and their health is weakened by poor and inadequate facilities. But seeming that Aboriginals have been the longest surviving natives of any country and have a deep reverence for nature, Aboriginals are still not granted the same rights to their land that us white people have. Therefore Aboriginals have an extremely just case for land rights.
b.) Mining companies have a just case to demand access to the land, to a certain extent but Aboriginals have an even greater right to the land, seeming that they have lived here for 40 000 years longer than us. Mining companies have a semi just case for access to the land because with the current rate of consumption and demand for fossil fuels and minerals we are currently running low on the resources. But at the same time, it is the European's fault due to the harsh way in which they treated the fragile and ancient Australian soils.
c.) Land rights can be considered a religious or spiritual issue for Aboriginals because they have such a connection to the land, and this deep reverence is shown through their ceremonies and rituals which have a religious/spiritual connection to the land. It is just like Christians value their religious aspects, Aboriginals too have a deep religious connection, but for them the difference is that their connection is to the land.
6. John Pilger's film, "The Secret Country", has broadened my understanding of views toward the issue of land rights in Australia. It has made me view the world, especially the situation between British colonization in Australia, a different place due to the fact that the film has expanded my view (from the native's point of view) about the issue of land rights in Australia. It has expanded my views about several issues including: