Social And Political Issues In The 1970s

Good Essays
Discuss why Aboriginal deaths in custody happened and the importance of the Royal commission.

In the late 20th century, Australia?s indigenous peoples were 29 times more likely to be put in jail than other Australians; 20 times more likely to be picked up by the police; less likely to receive bail or have legal representation in the court; and more likely to plead guilty. At the same time, indigenous peoples were less likely to be called up for jury duty than other Australians. The Aboriginal Legal Service (1970-97) provided access to legal advice and assistance for people who could not have otherwise afforded it, but it could do little to overcome injustices indigenous Australians suffered under the Australian legal system.

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Other ongoing problems were the failure of prison staff to provide adequate medical care for these prisoners and the inability of police to identify the particular cultural factors which may have placed these prisoners at greater risk.

? The role and significance of the Tent embassy In 1971, The Aboriginal Advancement League asked the United Nations to support its claims for land rights and compensation. Protestors pressured State and Federal Governments to respond to the injustices of indigenous peoples having been disposed of their land. On 26 January 1972, the Liberal Party Prime Minister, William McMahon, announced that ?land rights would threaten the tenure of every Australian?. He said that his government would grant neither land rights not compensation to Australia?s indigenous peoples. They could lease land but only for what his government considered worth while economic or social purposes. McMahon also said also said that his government would allow mining on Aboriginal reserves.

That afternoon four Aboriginal activists ? Michael Anderson, Tony Coorey, Billy Craigie and Gary Williams ? came up with a daring scheme to express anger at the prime minister?s attitude. They set up an Aboriginal embassy in a tent on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra. Australia?s indigenous peoples united in their support for the Aboriginal Tent Embassy and the land rights issue it sought to publicise.

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