Changing Rights and Freedoms of Australian Aborigines

Since the European invasion aborigines have been subjected to unequal treatment and racial discrimination as the white settlers believed they were a superior race and saw the Aborigines as being inferior and ‘primitive’. Due to this belief, the Aborigines have been deprived of rights and freedoms any white person is entitled to hold. Although Aborigines have been fighting for their rights and freedom from the beginning, significant action was undertaken during the period of the 1960s which succeeded in gaining the aborigines rights and citizenship.
Charles Perkins was born in Alice Springs in 1936, a skilled soccer player and an Australian Aboriginal activist. He moved to Adelaide to coach a local soccer team, there he became the vice president of the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aboriginals. In 1963 he moved to Sydney where he was one of the founding members of ‘Student Action for Aborigines’ (SAFA), later becoming president. On 12th February 1965, he and fellow student Jim Spigelman led about 28 others on a two week bus tour of rural Australia, there aim to publicise and ‘reveal’ to the people the discrimination being carried out towards aboriginal people in hope to try and redress it. This bus tour came to be known as the ‘Freedom Rides’.
The civil rights movement occurring at the time and the work of Martin Luther King, who worked to gain the freedom of the African-American people in America greatly influenced Perkins and the freedom rides and believed in the use of ‘non-violent action’ and establishing ‘creative tension’ by dramatically highlighting acts of discrimination until people could ignore them no longer. Desegregation; the separation of hospitals, schools and other facilities and leisure activities for black and white people was a main focus for the freedom rides. Their intention was to target towns which had the reputation of being racist towards their aboriginal inhabitants, “What we were trying to do was to go into those racist towns...