Australia’s indigenous people have too been being cheated of their rightful land and their cries have gone unheard for many years before anything was done. It is not only the rich land that was stolen from them but in the process their children were forcefully taken away from them by the by the same people. These are the stories that most of the giant gold or diamond or oil rich global companies have built their companies on. It is the same story in any country that has enormous natural resources.
Recently the mining giants BHP and Rio Tinto have recently come out in support of the central recommendation of the Referendum Council, that there be a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament a recommendation that the Federal Government rejected in 2017. And it may also be obvious how and why it is reform of the Australian Constitution that the mining industry believes will serve their interests. Is it also obvious how the pursuit of self-interest for mining will simultaneously advance the rights of Indigenous peoples? Let’s recap the history of Australia’s indigenous people
· Ever since the British first invaded, Aboriginal peoples have had their land stolen from them or destroyed. Until 1992, when it was finally overturned, the legal principle governing British and then Australian law regarding Aboriginal land was that of ‘terra nullius’ – that the land was empty before the British arrived, belonged to no-one, and could legitimately be taken over.
· Most has still to be returned today, and the loss of their land has had a devastating social and physical impact on Aboriginal peoples.
· The initial invasions also sparked huge waves of disease that killed thousands – many others were massacred. In just over one hundred years from the first invasion of their land, their numbers were reduced from up to an estimated one million to only 60,000.
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