Apart from the assimilation policy, oppressive legislation is part of the historical injustices perpetrated against the indigenous people thus leading to the current situation of overrepresentation of the Aboriginal people. Most of the interventions by the Australian states and territories towards the Aboriginal populations were in form of punitive and restrictive legislation and policies (Dudgeon Pat et al. For instance, such acts include “Aborigines Protection Act of 1909 in New South Wales, Australia, the Queensland Aboriginals Protection, and Restriction of the Sale of Opium Act of 1897, and the Welfare Ordinance of 1901.
These acts of legislation were intended to mutilate the culture of the Aboriginals through loss of the language, family dispersion, and cessation of cultural practices. The Western Australian Act of 1905 is perhaps the most notorious piece of legislation because of its gross erosion of rights of the Aboriginal persons; for instance, the Western Australian Act resulted to forceful removal of children from their families, natural environments, and the establishment of reserves for Aboriginal persons. Assimilation policies are construed to represent factors that have resulted in intergenerational impacts such as abuse, suffering and neglect of children in Australia.
Until 1969, children were forcefully removed from their families and communities as the official Australian policy, which resulted to a lost generation in Australia. White settlement policy on the indigenous population of Australia led to devastating perceptions of loss and grief, impacts that are still being experienced up to date (Aihw, 2013 p2). For instance, grief and loss issues oftentimes result in suicidal feelings among the youth, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, overrepresentation in welfare and juvenile criminal justice systems, among other things.
The assimilation policies were meant to displace, protect, disperse, convert and eventually assimilate the indigenous Australian populations, thus giving rise to the lost generation whose cultural roots had been cut, thus a subsequent loss of identity. A recognizable effect of this policy in the context of this paper is the over-representation of children in the child welfare system. Oppressive legislation is also part of the historical injustices perpetrated against indigenous Australians leading to their present over-representation in child
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