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Artefacts about Government Discussions

Cabinet discussed changing discriminatory social services law several times during the 1950s. While these conversations eventually led to change, there was opposition at every step.
In the late 1950s, many Queensland Government officials wrote to the federal government arguing for Torres Strait Islander men living on the outer islands to receive Unemployment Benefit.
Even when the government agreed to pay Aboriginal leprosy patients Invalid Pension, the payments were delayed by discussions about how much of the payment should go to patients and how much should be managed on their behalf.
During a government conference, ministers discussed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's eligibility for government payments and debated the exclusion of Torres Strait Islander seasonal workers from Unemployment Benefit.
When a fiery debate broke out in the House of Representatives over the government’s handling of rolling out payments to Aboriginal people, it revealed emerging issues in South Australia.
Activist EM Willington successfully petitioned the government for direct payments for Aboriginal people who had earned an independent income, paid taxes and managed their money their whole lives.
Government officials reported on how managers of missions, stations and settlements were using government payments for Aboriginal people in the Northern Territory. They collected minimal information from Aboriginal payment recipients.
In letters sent in the early 1960s, the opposition questioned the government about the practice of missions, stations and reserves using Aboriginal people’s payments on their behalf. In their response, the government defended the practice.