By IAN McCAUSLAND part of a conglomerate ministry
Associated Press Writer involving the arts, tourism and
SYDNEY, Australia - After the environment.
200 years of white domination, Bryant has set about overturn-
Australia's indigenous blacks - ing and reshaping policies to as-
are starting to get a better deal. sist the ahorigines.
They are native to this island "It is a huge task," said Bry-
continent claimed for Britain by ant, 58. "Aborigines have do-
Capt. John Cook in 1770 and velpe.'an friieschaed
settled 88 years later as a Bri- veloped an iferiority complex
tishpena colny. . .They are ashamed of their
tish penal colony, ancestry.
BUT THE aborigines had been "THEY ARE NOT good at re-
here for centuries, roaming over sisting and prefer to step aside
the land as hunters and food if trouble or a problem arises."
gatherers and devising a culture Trouble and problems show up
that exists today. Anthropologists in statistics on aborigines:
classifieds them as Australoids, -Aboriginal babies make up 1
hut they are more commonly per cent of the infant popula-
known as aborigines - the orig- tion but account for 10 per cent
mat npeople. of all infant deaths in the first
Tsey now comprise 1411,10o(f year and 28 per cent of second
Australia's 13 million pseople. year deaths.
Tennis star Evonne Goolagong -
is part aborigine. IN 1971, the infant mortality
rate among aborigines in central
LIONEL ROSE was the first Australia was 296 deaths per
aborigine to win a world sports 1,000 births. The over-all rate for
crown when he took the world whites and blacks in Australia is
bantamweight boxing champion 17 deaths per 1,000 births.
ship i5 1966. Aborigines feature highly in
But it is only recently that the prison populations. In country
aborigines have managed to towns, they are often the only
break through racial barriers. regular inmates in local jails.
'he Labor party government Here in Australia's biggest
of Prime Minister Gough Whit- city, the 9,000 aboriginal resi-
lam, elected last December, has dents are a third of 1 per cent
begun to accelerate the move- of the 2.7 million population, but
ment to give black Australians make up 10 per cent of the jail
a better life in their own home- population. Most offenses com-
land. Soon after taking office mitted by the aborigines involve
Whitlam described the aboriginal assault, petty theft, drunkenness,
situation as a national shame. A and disorderly conduct.
social service report said the
aborigines "are trapped in a cul- THERE ARE many indepen-
ture of poverty." dently confirmed cases of police
harassment and victimization of
WHITLAM appointed Gordon aborigines, accompanied by
Bryant as his minister for abor- claims that aborigines make
iginal affairs. It was the first easy targets for police trying to
time that this post had not been maintain arrest and conviction
THE SUMMER DAILY
Thursday, July 19, 1973
still exists, in particular in the
state of Queensland, often re-
ferred to as Australia's "Deep
Aborigines living on aboriginal
settlements or reserves in
Queensland can be jailed at will
by the settlement manager -
usually a white - expelled, or
prevented from living in the set-
IN SOME settlements, the
manager controls the finances
of the individual families.
The thinking behind this is
that paternalism is necessary to
save aborigines from them-
selves: drunkenness has become
a major disease in many aborigi-
Bryant visited the Palm Is-
land, Queensland, aboriginal set-
tlement recently. -
"THE C O N D I T I 0 NS were
shocking, depressing and beyond
belief in this country in this day
and age," he said.
"The 1,200 aborigines there
were broken in spirit. A feeling
of helplessness w a s every-
There is occasional racism,
too. Four of nine white girls
scheduled to "come out" at a
debutante-style ball at Nanago,
Queensland, in June, were with-
drawn by their parents. The girls
would have had to curtsv to Sen.
Neville Bonner, the guest of
honor and only aborigine in Aus-
tralia's 185-member Parliament.
DESPITE THE discrimina-
tory laws, aborigines have scored
major successes in sports, and
have achieved some fame in the
arts. Miss Goolagong, 21, is the
best known. Ranking among the
top four best women tennis play-
ers in the world, she won the
women's singles at Wimbledon
in 1971. Miss Goolagong says she
is proud of being part aboriginal
but is rarely aware of it.
"I don't think of myself as
being colored but of being Aus-
tralian," she says. Though she
makes guest appearances at
aboriginal functions, she polite-
ly avoids involvement with ac-
tivist black groups.
"I'm a tennis player," she
says. "I have to keep my mind
on one thing only -tennis,"
TOUGH SPORTS such as box-
ing and rugby have more than a
sprinkling of aboriginal stars.
In 1966 there was bantam-
weight Lionel Rose. Now Tony
uTrisine, current ktler of the There have been more strident
Bitish middleweight boxing ,objections to other government
title, is a strong contender for moves, particularly to the halt-
the world crown. ing of mining exploration licenses
Even Pastor Sir Doug Nicholls, on aboriginal reserves.
56, recently knighted by Queen
Elizabeth It for his aboriginal THE HALT was ordered pend-
advancement work, hit the head- ing the granting of aboriginal
lines first as a professional run- land rights, presently being in-
ner and athlete. estigated by a one man commis-
ROSLYN W A T S O N, 19, The situation not only involves
>ecame the first aboriginal grad- handing over ownership of re-
tate of the Australian ballet serves currently held by the gov-
school this year. ment, but the probing of abor-
Bryant is pressing for a bill iginal claims to other tribal land
shich would outlaw discrimina- or ground they consider sacred.
:ion throughout the country. The Aboriginals, especially the S0,-
state of South Australia has such 000 full bloods, have deep cui-
egislation already and has su- tural connections with land.
:essfully prosecuted offenders, The complaints have come
usually bar owners who have re- from mining companies which
used to serve aborigines. have spent millions of dollars
Moves are under way for the proving up mineral deposits in
:entral government to take over some of these areas.
:ontrol of aboriginal affairs from
he governments of the five THE MOST notable is the Na-
tates with aboriginal popula- barlek uranium discovery in the
ions. Northern Territory worth $170
TILE IFEDERAL takeoNer was Bryant is emphatic that where
land is handed over to aborigin-
Sls, it is they who will decide
whether mining goes ahead and
iunder what conditions.
"The land will be theirs and
so will the decision, " he said.
'THE LAND rights issue is a
mt or victory for the few abor-
iginal activists around and their
numerically stronger white sym-
pathizers. But they are still un-
happy that the land rights com-
missioner is a white judge, de-
spite his chattmpiining of aborig-
sinal causes before being ap-
pointed to the bench.
Aboriginal law student Paul
Coe said: "Once again, a white
man has become so powerful in
aboriginal affairs that his recom-
mendations could decide the
lifestyle of aborigines for dec-
vonne Goolagong: One of the ales."
ew aborigines to have success- Bryant has taken steps to ov-
ully overcome the severe racial ercome this through the forma-
arriers Australian society pre- tion of the National Aboriginals
ents. Like in this country, the Consultative Committee. This
ports world has provided some group of 70 drawn from aborigi-
f the first opportunities for the nal organizations and tribes is
ountry's blacks, the firerunner of a consultative
nvisaged in a countrvwide fer- council.
rendum in 1967 which over-
helmingly supported such ac- tIlE COUNCIl would be elect-
,7. ed, and some aborigines see it as
With the exception Of Queens- blossoming into a black parlia-
nd, the states have indicated ment, not only advising the mm-
o objections. Even Queensland's ister but making decisions, too.
pposition relates more to its Bryant said: "Nobody has
unning battle against what it ever really consulted the aborig-
onsiders to be creeping central- ines before about how they feel.
m. We are doing so."
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