Live coverage of the Australian election.
Runtime: None minutes
Australia Votes - Voting rights of Indigenous Australians - Netflix
The voting rights of Indigenous Australians became an issue from the mid-19th century, when responsible government was being granted to Britain's Australian colonies, and suffrage qualifications were being debated. The resolution of universal rights progressed into the mid-20th century. Indigenous Australians began to acquire voting rights along with other adults living in the Australian colonies from the late-19th century. Other than in Queensland and Western Australia, Indigenous men acquired the vote alongside their non-Indigenous counterparts in the Australian colonies. In South Australia, Indigenous women also acquired the vote from 1895 onward. Following Australian Federation in 1901, the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 restricted Aboriginal voting rights in federal elections. For a time Aboriginal people could vote in some states and not in others, though from 1949, Aboriginal people could vote if they were or had been servicemen. In 1962, the Menzies Government (1949–1966) amended the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 to enable all Indigenous Australians to enrol to vote in Australian federal elections. In 1965, Queensland became the last state to remove restrictions on Indigenous voting in state elections, and as a consequence all Indigenous Australians in all states and territories had equal voting rights at all levels of government. Many restrictions on voting rights only applied to some people that would, today, be considered Indigenous. Specifically, only people of full Indigenous ancestry or of mixed race “in whom the aboriginal blood preponderates” were limited through the Franchise Act. It did not apply to Indigenous people of mixed race that were, to use the language of the time, 'half-castes' or less. In practice, some local electoral officials may have denied enrolment to a broader range of Indigenous people than those formally excluded.
Australia Votes - Expansion to full Aboriginal franchise - Netflix
Campaigns for indigenous civil rights in Australia gathered momentum from the 1930s. In 1938, with the participation of leading Indigenous activists like Douglas Nicholls, the Australian Aborigines' League and the Aborigines Progressive Association organised a protest “Day of Mourning” to mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the First Fleet of British settlers in Australia and launched a campaign for full civil rights for all Aborigines. In 1949, the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1949 reversed Garran's interpretation of section 41 and confirmed that all those who could vote in their states could vote in federal elections. This gave the right to vote to Aboriginal people in all states except Queensland and Western Australia. Also, those who had served in the military were expressly entitled to vote. In the 1960s, influenced by the strong civil rights movements in the United States and South Africa, many changes in Aborigines' rights and treatment followed, including removal of restrictions on voting rights. In 1962, the Menzies Government amended the Commonwealth Electoral Act to give Indigenous people the right to enrol and vote in Commonwealth elections irrespective of their voting rights at the state level. If they were enrolled, it was compulsory for them to vote as per non-Indigenous citizens. However, enrolment itself was not compulsory. Western Australia gave Indigenous citizens the vote in the State in the same year, and Queensland followed in 1965. Until 1967, section 127 of the Australian Constitution prohibited Indigenous Australians from being counted in the population. With the repeal of the provision by a referendum in 1967, Indigenous Australians were counted in the population. This took place from the 1971 census, which subsequently affected the distribution of electoral seats, especially in Queensland and Western Australia. In 1983, the Electoral Act was amended, to remove optional enrolment for Indigenous citizens, and removing any differentiation or distinction based on race in the Australian electoral system.
Australia Votes - References - Netflix