A facebook post from my friend Janine Gertz (Community Engagement Officer at James Cook University):
Watching Nelson Mandela's Memorial on TV, I couldn't help but think about what the world might have looked like without this man.
I bet you didn't know this but South Africa's Apartheid system was modeled closely on Queensland's Aboriginal Protection Act (1897).
Queensland's Apartheid system enabled the Government to forcibly remove Aboriginal people to reserves and missions - places like Yarrabah, Palm Island, Cherbourg to name a few. It's hard to imagine but the lives of Aboriginal people were controlled down to every element of decision making that citizens enjoy - who you can marry; what job you were to be employed in; where you could travel on your days off; what you could buy with your wages.
It was a devastating piece of legislation, the effects of which we a still dealing with today through inter-generational trauma.
Politicians and public servants spoke about it in those days as being a policy of 'Care and Protection' but hindsight has shown us it was really it was about control and incarceration.
New Protection Acts, modeled on the original 1897 version, were passed through the Queensland Parliament as late as 1971 with hangover policies enduring within the Public Service programs until the late 1980's. And the ideological struggle continues today in 2013.
On this day, I reflect on the memory and legacy of not only Nelson Mandela, but of my grandparents, parents, uncles and aunties, and the other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families who lived through this regime, became political activists and paved the way for social change. I owe them much...
More on the Queensland legislation