Impact Of The Freedom Rides In The 1960's

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Explain how the Freedom Rides in the U.S. impacted upon the rights and freedoms of Aboriginal peoples in Australia.
The 1960’s was a time of change in social and political dynamics in the US and Australia. It was the time when Australia introduced new government policies towards indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. However, these government policies ironically caused widespread discontent which provoked a protest by a group of activists, riding inter-state buses to towns that were strong in segregation and racial intolerance. This was known as the Freedom Ride. It was a significant time in Australia’s history which makes it imperative to explore the origin of the idea. This essay will examine the Freedom Rides in the US, Charles Perkins
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During that time, Aboriginal people were under paternalistic policies because of the belief that they were uncivilised and inferior to make effective decisions. Thus, the government acted as their ‘parent’ to control money for assistance, restriction of movement within reserves and the removal of Aboriginal children from their families to ‘educate’ them in a civilised way. The common justification for this act was that it was “for their own good”. Within the social awareness from the US, Charles Perkins, an articulate and talented young Aboriginal man, decided to duplicate the idea of the US Freedom Ride in Australia. Perkins had travelled to other countries to pursue his passion of playing soccer, and in doing so he had been exposed different societal behaviour. He believed that racial discrimination in Australia was withdrawing Aboriginal people to their deserved rights and freedoms. On the 12 February 1964, the Australian Freedom Ride drove off to expose the racial discrimination in towns. Perkins had also organised television coverage of the Freedom Ride on the Channel 7 program ‘Seven Days’, featuring seven remote communities in western NSW and their racial injustices for viewers around Australia. In Moree, the riders addressed the segregation of the local swimming pool where Aboriginal children were not …show more content…
In 1967, a referendum was held and resulted in 90 per cent of all Australians voting ‘Yes’ for Aboriginal people to be counted in the census. However, Aboriginal people still struggled to gain their full rights and freedoms. When Australia was colonised by the British, it was declared that the land was “terra nullius”, although there were Aboriginal people living on the island. This displayed the ethnocentric attitudes of the British which gave indigenous Australians no rights to their traditional land. This issue was highlighted when Eddie Mabo was told that he had no claim to his father’s ancestral island. Dreamtime stories about the creation of the world strongly connected Aboriginal people spiritually with every feature of their indigenous land. Thus, the acknowledgement of their deserved ownership motivated many Torres Strait islanders to lodge a legal claim and were granted permission to proceed to the High court. In 1992, the High Court overturned the law of “terra nullius” and ruled that Australia was not an empty land when the British claimed it. Additionally, it introduced a new type of land, with the existing “Crown land”, called “Native Title”. Native Title could only be granted if title holders prove a connection to their land through their culture. However,

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