Women Speak Out! A Report of the Pacific Women's Conference. October 27 – November 2
I will attempt to give you the situation as I know it in regard to Aboriginal and Island people. Perhaps I could begin by telling you a little bit about my people and something of our culture so that you will understand our situation.page 70
Our women have a very hard life, especially in the Northern areas they do not have any housing at all in a lot of the places, and on the reserves, settlements, compounds, many of the people who are living in those areas are under white administration very similar to South Africa. Especially in the Queensland area, our people come under what is called the Queensland and Torres Strait Islanders Act, where no one is allowed to leave the compound, their settlement, without their permission. This is only one instance I can only touch on, since it would take a long time to explain the others. They can't leave the settlement without the permission of the white Australian administration officer in charge of them. And if they had an argument with that officer or any of the white staff there, they could be shifted without any notice given to their family, to another area. This is being done to a lot of our children, not just in Queensland. In earlier days, this was done to all of our people, when children were just taken away from their families and never seen again and its caused a lot of breakup in tribes this way, where they've been lost to one another.
This is one of the reasons why in our fights for land rights and compensation for the loss of our tribal areas, now the government is saying we have to prove our descendents from the tribe before we can get compensation. It's been very hard for the people to do this.