The 1901 constitution still did not recognise the fact that Indigenous Australians owned the Australian land before the British settlers came. In fact, it stated that 'aboriginal natives' were not to be counted as Australian citizens. This meant that Indigenous Australians did not have federal protection. They could not receive federal government aid, such as pensions and could not vote in federal elections.
Each state made its own rules with regard to indigenous Australians. They made laws that banned them from going to certain places. They made it illegal for them to drink alcohol. They made laws that permitted children of Indigenous Australians to be taken away from their parents and brought up by Europeans.
Many Australians were not happy with the way the state governments treated Indigenous Australians. In 1957m, over 0 per cent of Australians voted to change the Constitution and give the federal government the power to make laws for Indigenous Australians.
Since that time, Indigenous Australians have gradually gained more rights under Australian law. In recent years, judgements made by the High Court have forced the federal government to make new laws about their rights to own land. However, Indigenous Australians still have many special needs that are not recognised under Australian law.
The change, throughout the 20th century, was certainly dramatic in terms of Indigenous rights and the success of these improvements is certainly symbolised through Kathy Freeman, an Aboriginal Australian, being chosen to light the cauldron at the Sydney 2000 Olympics and carry both the Australian and Aboriginal flags after her victory
The constitution gave the federal government the power to decide foreign policies conti for all Australian states. However, for many years, Australian foreign policies continued to be dictated by Britain. In fact, until 1931, Australians were not allowed to send its own...