The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) is established,
replacing the DAA and the Aboriginal Development Commission.
The final Report of The Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths
in Custody was tabled in State and Federal Parliaments. The
Royal Commission made 339 recommendations.
A special Royal Commission Cabinet Sub-Committee was announced by
the Western Australian State Government.
In August 1991, the Commonwealth Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation
Act establishes a Council of 25 members to promote a process of
reconciliation between Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders and the
wider Australian community.
High Court hands down its decision in the Mabo v. Queensland
No. 2 case, rejecting
the doctrine that Australia was 'terra nullius' (land belonging to no-one)
at the time of settlement and holding that the common law of Australia recognises
a form of traditional native title.
The Western Australian State Government indicates its full, qualified
or in principle support for all 339 recommendations of the Report
of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody.
At the Australian launch of the International Year for the
World’s Indigenous People at Redfern Park in NSW Labor
Prime Minister Paul Keating acknowledged colonial culpability: We
took the traditional lands and smashed the traditional way of life.
We brought the disasters. The alcohol. We committed the murders.
We took the children from their mothers. We practised discrimination
Position of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice
Commissioner was created by Federal Parliament.
Release of Western Australian government’s Aboriginal Plan providing
a clear statement of State Government programs in Aboriginal affairs.
Federal Parliament passes the Native Title Act, 1993 as
part of a response to the High Court’s Mabo decision. The legislation
establishes the National Native Title Tribunal and governs how native
title is dealt with across Australia. Western Australian Government
challenges the constitutional validity of the legislation.
The Western Australian Land (Titles and Traditional Usage) Act
Aboriginal common law rights and entitlements with rights of ‘traditional
usage’ of Crown land. High Court challenge by the Wororra People.
Report of the Task Force on Aboriginal Social Justice (known as the ‘Daub
Report’) is presented to the Government.
Western Australian Aboriginal Affairs Department is created.
High Court declares Western Australia’s Land (Titles and Traditional
Usage) Act 1993 to be inconsistent with the Racial Discrimination
Act 1975 (Cth) and
therefore invalid under the Constitution. Land (Titles and Traditional
Usage) Act 1993 repealed.
The Western Australian Commission of Elders is established with representatives
drawn from each of the seven regions.
Regional Aboriginal Justice Councils established in the Pilbara, the Metropolitan
region, the Goldfields and the Murchison/Gascoyne.
National Inquiry launched by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
(HREOC) to investigate the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
children from their families.
Wik High Court judgment states that a pastoral lease does not necessarily extinguish
HREOC Inquiry reports in Bringing Them Home: a guide to the findings and
recommendations of the National Inquiry into the separation of Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander children from their families. The Premier on behalf
of the State and Parliament formally offers an apology to Aboriginal people affected
by past Government policies and practices for the removal of Aboriginal children
from their families and communities.
Sorry Day is held one year after the tabling in Parliament
of the HREOC report.
Prime Minister John Howard passes a formal motion of reconciliation.