Journal article

Creating a legal identity: Aboriginal people and the assimilation census

Heather Douglas, John Chesterman

JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIAN STUDIES | ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD | Published : 2008

Abstract

The Commonwealth government of Australia introduced the policy of 'assimilation' in the early 1950s. This policy aimed to merge Aboriginal people with other Australians. In 1953 the government drafted legislation that would cease to discriminate against Aboriginal people on the basis of their race, but would instead discriminate against Aboriginal people whose social status rendered them 'wards'. This reclassification process ultimately affected almost every Aboriginal person in the Northern Territory. However, the assimilation policy could not be implemented until a census had been undertaken of all Aboriginal people in the jurisdiction to determine which people would be listed as wards. Th..

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