Artefacts about Family Supports
Doreen Kartinyeri’s life story holds details of a number of issues that her family faced in accessing government payments, including issues with living on missions, exemptions and child removal.
As an Elder, Ruth Hegarty fought for justice on behalf of Aboriginal people in Queensland who had been denied access to government payments and fair wages. Her activism was spurred on by her own experiences.
After observing the mistreatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were forced to live at Palm Island Reserve, one resident asked the federal government for help, including asking for a review into how reserve managers were using people’s government payments.
Prominent Aboriginal activists discussed government policies and the issues of indirect government payments, wage theft and land rights at a conference in Queensland, criticising the government for their treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
With many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people missing out on payments, the Federal Council of Aboriginal Advancement wrote a leaflet to provide guidance about accessing payments.
Even though social security was a federal responsibility, the Western Australian Department of Native Welfare issued a booklet for Aboriginal people instructing them to access payments through state-based officers.
Amendments to this Act in 1966 removed references to Aboriginal people altogether, meaning Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in theory had equal access to government payments. However, discrimination continued.
The Northern Territory Council for Aboriginal Rights, led by Aboriginal activists, tried to draw international attention to their cause by appealing to the United Nations.