By educating me about Australia, I heard a lot about Aboriginal people. This is a complex topic, though very interesting. Therefore, I decided to devote my free subject to Australia’s Aboriginal people. They are fully part of Australian culture and history.
Origins and culture
The Aboriginal culture is the oldest living culture in the world. Many mysteries surround Australian prehistory, but it is believed that the first humans settled in Australia more than 50,000 years ago and that they came from the Indonesian archipelago.
This semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer society was traditionally organised in tribes, themselves being composed of clans with a common ancestor. For its sustenance, the society relied on a thorough knowledge of the natural environment, utilising it extensively and sustainably.
Capture and assimilation
Because of their tribal organisation, Aboriginal people could not resist European colonizers. This enabled the British to declare Australia terra nullius and to appropriate the territory. Indigenous were expelled, killed or herded into reserves where thousands of them died by contracting Western diseases.
From 1910 to the late 1960s, as part of a "cultural assimilation" policy, some 100,000 Aboriginal children, known as “the sacrificed generation", were forcibly removed from their families to be educated as white children.
In 1967, 90% of Australian voters said yes by referendum to Aboriginal voting rights.
A 2011 census determined a population of 670,000 Aboriginal people, accounting for 3% of the Australian population.
Nowadays, Aboriginal people are more affected by poverty than any other Australian group, and their life expectancy is less than 10 years the national average.
Tony Abbott, the former Australian Prime Minister, wanted to improve the Australian Aboriginal lives, but Malcolm Turnbull, the new one, did not say anything about this. So, to be continued…
Tony Abbott with Aboriginal people.
The Aboriginal Flag was created by Harold Thomas in 1971:
If you prefer video, I found an interesting one on the topic:
Australia is part of the Commonwealth of Nations (the symbol is on its flag). Its constitution came into force on 1st January, 1901.
The Commonwealth includes former British colonies or protectorates. The members are symbolically led by Elizabeth II.
Australia is a parliamentary democracy based on the Westminster system. The Australians elect their state and territory legislatures and the Federal Parliament.
The elections are held at least once every three years nationally. The last general elections were held in October, 2007. The Federal Parliament is composed of two Houses:
- The House of Representatives: 150 members elected for 3 years by direct universal suffrage.
- The Senate: 76 members elected for 6 years by universal suffrage.
There are three mains Parties in Australia:
The Liberal Party of Australia: it is a center-right Party which mainly represents the business community, the middle class and some of the agricultural community.
The National Party of Australia: it is a conservative Party which mainly represents rural interests.
The Australian Labor Party: it is a social democratic Party which represents the urban working class, despite having more and more support from the middle class.
Tony Abbott was the Australian Prime Minister from September 2013 to September 2015. He came from the Liberal Party.
But he failed to keep his campaign promises: the unemployment and the deficit increased, while the growth rate and the value of the Australian dollar fell.
On 14th September, 2015, Malcolm Turnbull, a former Minister of Communications and a member of the Liberal Party as well, filed a motion against Tony Abbott. He accused him of being unable to cope with the economic difficulties. In the evening, Tony Abbott convened the Parliamentary Liberal Party for a vote, which was fatal: Tony Abbott collected 44 votes, while Malcolm Turnbull collected 54.
Thus, since 14th September, 2015, Malcolm Turnbull, a millionaire and the former CEO of Goldman Sachs Australia, is the 29th Australian Prime Minister.
His political program is not known, but he differs from Tony Abbott by supporting gay marriage (which is banned in Australia) and the fight against climate change (Australia is one of the most polluting countries in the world per capita).
Australia has some tensions with Indonesia: the Australian secret services are accused of having wiretapped the Indonesian President in 2009 and of being linked to the USA in order to spy on Indonesia. Therefore, their diplomatic relations are affected. During his mandate, Tony Abbott used to send illegal migrants boats back to Indonesia.
There is no particular internal conflict in Australia. The last highlight happened on 12th September, 2012, when activists and police went through violent clashes during a protest against an anti-Islam film in Sydney.
However, there is a certain ethnic pressure against Australia’s Aboriginal people: they are marginalised and often have poor living conditions.
I hope you’ve learned something through this article. See you in an upcoming one.
Welcome to my blog!
My name is Héloïse and I come from Lyon, France. I am currently in 2nd year in ESDES Lyon Business School, studying for a master’s degree. My school is part of Catholic University.
In February, I will leave France to spend a semester of study in Sydney, Australia. I chose the Australian Catholic University (ACU).
In Australia, it will be the beginning of the school year. The seasons are reversed there, so I will arrive in summer.
Australia has always been a dream for me; I hope I'll be able to combine studies and discovery of the country, the culture, the habits, customs etc.
This stay in total immersion will be the opportunity for me to be independent and to experience life in a foreign country. I am confident that this adventure will be rewarding and unforgettable.
While waiting to take off for the end of the world, here are some pictures of what I'll leave in Lyon:
My current campus:
PS: the name of my blog is a kind of pun because my nickname is "Hélo". Therefore, it sounds like “Hello” in English. I wanted to make a little wink to my first name in HeloAustralia.
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