Artefacts about Old-age Pension
The Aborigines Progressive Association fought for full citizenship rights for Aboriginal peoples, including social security benefits. They organised, protested and addressed political leaders. They spread their message through the first Aboriginal-led publication, The Australian Abo Call.
Aboriginal activist and leader, Pearl Gibbs, fought for fair access to pensions and income support payments. She questioned proposed changes to social services legislation.
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.
When Aboriginal pensioners raised concerns about their treatment at Cherbourg settlement and asked for direct payments, the government denied their request and refused to provide further support.
Believing Aboriginal people couldn’t manage their own money, the New South Wales Government monitored and reported on how Aboriginal people spent federal government payments once they started receiving them.
For a long time, Aboriginal people weren’t given birth certificates. Walaru’s experience is an example of how difficult it was to prove age and show eligibility for Old-age Pension.
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.
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.