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Social Research Assignment: Discussion on Assimilation Policy (1937) & Bringing Them Home Report (1997)


Task: Over module two you responded to critical questions to reflect on how social, institutional, and historical forces explicitly and implicitly construct knowledge of Self and Others. In Task 3 you will use this as a basis to extend into a critical analysis of Australian policy and historical events in relation to Indigenous Australian peoples.

To prepare this social research assignment, you are required to select two events from the Australian History Timeline.

One event must be pre-1967 (before the Referendum) and the other post-1967 (after the Referendum). This will enable you to investigate the evolution of approaches to Australian policy for Indigenous Australian peoples, the way Indigenous Australians are positioned to rationalise approaches, and the presumed relationship between Indigenous and nonIndigenous Australians as a consequence. Ensure that you choose topics which enable you to engage with this investigation.

You are required to describe and analyse each policy/event in relation to:

  • Goals of each policy or event.
  • How Indigenous Australians are positioned (e.g., do they have a role in decisionmaking, are their views represented, are they constructed as a 'problem to be resolved').
  • The relationship between Indigenous Australians and wider Australian society (e.g., is there a social or cultural norm evident? Are Indigenous Australians constructed as 'different' to or divergent from the norm?);
  • The similarities and differences evident in the goals, positioning of Indigenous Australians, and the implied relationship between Indigenous Australians and wider Australian society;
  • How knowledge about Australian history is reproduced to reinforce contemporary understandings (e.g. how do the discourses and norms associated with the events continue to inform contemporary understandings of Australian history and culture as well as Indigenous Australians?);
  • A reflection on your standpoint, on the influence of these policies and events on your own cultural competence and the social and cultural influences on your understandings.


Many historical events have taken place that relates to the relationship between Indigenous Australians and wider Australian society. This social research assignment will analyse the goals of two events, i.e. Assimilation Policy (1937) and Bringing Them Home Report (1997). Further, this essay will explore the power relationships, positioning of Indigenous Australians, similarities and differences in the goals, how knowledge about Australian history is being reproduced. Finally, reflecting on my standpoint on how the selected policy and event have influenced my cultural competence.

Assimilation Policy (1937)
Assimilation Policy was introduced in 1937 to assimilate Indigenous people into “white society”. This policy attempted to stop the reproduction of the Indigenous population by assimilating Indigenous into Australian society. It forced Indigenous people to accept wider Australian society's norms, culture, and beliefs (Hasluck, 1961, Sample 1). This policy also had negatively impacted the Indigenous Australians and their cultural history which led to significant psychological trauma and a loss of identity.

Within this policy, assimilation was emphasised; however, loss of identity was not discussed. With the arrival of European settlers, the conflict started immediately between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians in the form of organised massacres, random killing and punitive treatment. As a result of this, Indigenous people were not consulted during decision making which means opinions or views of the Indigeneous community were not considered and they had no role in decision making. It is also evident that government did not consider the opinion and voice of Indigenous people while introducing this Assimilation Policy, which is evident throughout the policy as there, was a lack of understanding of Indigenous culture.

Here, this assimilation was planned by separating children from their families and growing up within the culture and heritage imposed by the Commonwealth. This way, children would be desensitised from their own culture and not carry forward any Indigenous heritage. These removals did form part of the Assimilation policy and the removed Indigenous children were called “Stolen Generations” (Carlson, 2013). These forcibly removed children were assimilated with white people and were taught to reject their Indigenous culture and heritage and achieve the same standard of living as white people to get the rights and privileges similar to other Australians in the country.

The success of the assimilation policy was based on non-indigeneous people accepting indigeneous people. However, this didn’t take place smoothly. There was inequality between lighter and dark skin people (Moore, 2017). The power was displayed by indigeneous people as they were considered inferior compared to white people and the policy aimed to die out Indigenous Australians. Therefore, due to contentious policies, indigeneous communities could not assimilate into society and there are disparities in Australian history. Throughout Australian history, the White Australians are projected as the developers of Australia. In fact throughout the policy, paternalism and racial prejudice have been stated, which is taking control over the lives of Indigeneous people and acting as their parents/guardians. So, this policy is a matter of discussion related to racism as Indigeneous Australians are categorised differently from other Australians.

Due to early conflicts and attempts to phase out Indigenous Australians, trust was broken and relationship was splintered among Indigeneous and Non-Indigeneous Australians and this damage is difficult to be healed completely (Gale &Bolzan, 2013). Even the textbooks published during the era of White Australians did not mention or mock the presence of Indigeneous Australians. This is another example of inequality within society. Still, some Indigeneous Australians oppose the Australian Government, cultural norms to acknowledge traditional custodians of land (Singer et al. 2015). Displacement during colonisation has a lasting impact on the unpleasant relationship between Indigeneous and Non-Indigeneous Australians.

Bringing Them Home Report (1997)
The report "Bringing them home" investigated the separation of children of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from their families. The inquiry was set up to gather evidence from the Indigenous community, foster parents, police, Government authorities and health professionals to initiate reconciliation by acknowledging what happened in the past and also to identify the needs of so-called “The Stolen Generations”. The commissioners of both Indigenous and Non-Indigenous sat for the hearings, integrating the cultural perspective from both ends (O’Donnell et al, 2019). They tried to empathise with the sufferings of indigenous people and the extreme trauma which they have been through.

The national enquiry was released in 1997 and this report details the mismanagement of the Government and how Indigenous people and their culture have been treated. The report about the National Inquiry to bring home into the Aboriginal Separation and as well as Strait Islander for Torres Children from the families of them, and the report of Bringing Them Home, has been tabled in the Parliament on May 26, in the year of 1997. After publishing the home report during the Convention of the Australian Reconciliation in Melbourne, it has attracted extensive attention, sparking ongoing public and political discussion concerning the execution of its proposals (Fernando & Bennett, 2019). The Australian culture has not been able to know about their own identity. The reparations about the culture of Australia have been provided to the Indigenous peoples who have been impacted by the forced removal of the practices. The compensation of monetary restitution should be included with the recognition of apology and guilt from all of the Australian parliaments and as well as the other authorities that have adopted removal programmes forcefully. This report has not carried the good trade-off between not knowing of the mother, sibling of those children Vs those citizens of Australia who has been well educated like the white people and this has been the most devastating feeling for those children. Children sent overseas ought to be brought back and re-unite with Aboriginal relatives and those children have belonged to the broken or split family and they have been converting into the different shades of the white people and no kind of parenting skills left in the report. So for this reason all kids have to be put in theInstitution. State and territorial legislatures have expressly apologised to people harmed by separation practices. Since being voted to the Australian government in the year 2007, the Labor Party of Australia has been stated that it has been honoured by their policy of unconditional apologies to the Generations of Stolen while they have been rejecting any type of recommendations to pay their victims.

Reinforce Contemporary knowledge:
Knowledge of Reinforce Contemporary is the information that is very unique for the specific civilization and culture of Australia..Knowledge about folk, local knowledge, knowledge of people, traditional science and traditional wisdom are different names for the knowledge of the Reinforce Contemporary. Communities of Australia have been transferring and creating this knowledge overtime to cope with their specific settings socioeconomic and agroecological and This knowledge has been also created by the methodical process for assessing local terms and conditions for experimenting with their solutions, and as well as this contemporary knowledge has been also adapting previously and also helped to recognise the solutions for changing socioeconomic, environmental, and the technical circumstances. The knowledge of Reinforce has been passed down from generation to generation, and this is usually happened by the cultural rituals and word of mouth, and This knowledge has also been served by the foundation for various kinds of purposes such as food preparation, agriculture, and health care, conservation, education, and the variety of the other activities that have been supported the Australian culture and society and also the environment of Australia also other countries. The knowledge of Reinforce contemporary has been passed down through verbally example and imitation. As a result of this writing, it alters some of the qualities that have been very essential for the people.

Cultural knowledge in the workplace leads to improving and understanding in the varied workforce. Reflecting on the placement about the cultural competency matrix, I have discovered that I have been learned into the categories about cultural awareness and cultural knowledge. As an immigrant of Australia, I have limited understanding as well as the experience with the culture of Australia, particularly the Indigenous history and culture of Australia. I have recently started working in an organisation that helps me to know about promotes and values of the Aboriginal culture (Dachs et al. 2019). I have also been able to gather information about the Assimilation Policy (1937) and the Bringing Them Home Report (1938, 1997) that helps to improve my data collection skills and also gather information about Australian culture. The knowledge of Reinforce has been passed down from generation to generation, typically through cultural rituals and word of mouth, and To know about this knowledge, I have also been able to get information for serving by the foundation for various kinds of purpose that have supported the Australian culture and society, as well as the environment of Australia. It has also provided me with limited exposure to Australian cultural competency.

It has been concluded that this project has been mainly focused on the aims of two events: the Assimilation Policy (1937) and the Bringing Them Home Report (1938). (1997). The Assimilation Policy was implemented in 1937 to integrate Indigenous people into "white civilization."It compelled Indigenous people to embrace the rules, culture, and beliefs of larger Australian society. By incorporating Indigenous people into Australian civilization, this programme tried to halt the reproduction of the Indigenous population. In this project it has been analysed that the approach has also had a devastating influence on Indigenous Australians and their cultural past, resulting in substantial psychological anguish and a loss of identity. This project has also been able to analyse the Indigenous Australian positions, power dynamics contrasts parallels and aspirations, and how information about Australian history is transmitted. Finally, the Developer of the project has described how the chosen policy and event have affected the cultural competency. ?

Carlson, B. (2013). The “new frontier”: Emergent Indigenous identities and social media. In M.Harris, M. Nakata & B. Carlson (Eds.), The Politics of Identity: Emerging Indigeneity (pp.147-168). University of Technology Sydney E-Press.

Gale, F., &Bolzan, N. (2013). Social resilience: challenging neo-colonial thinking and practices around “risk”. Journal of Youth Studies, 16(2), 257-271. Moore, R. (2017, June 12). History textbooks still imply that Australians are white. The Conversation. white-72796

Singer, J., Bennett-Levy, J., &Rotumah, D. (2015). "You didn't just consult the community, you involved us": the transformation of a ‘top-down’ Aboriginal mental health project into a ‘bottom- up' community-driven process. Australasian Psychiatry, 23(6), 614-619.
O’Donnell, M., Taplin, S., Marriott, R., Lima, F., & Stanley, F. J. (2019). Infant removals: The need to address the over-representation of Aboriginal infants and community concerns of another ‘stolen generation’. Social research assignmentChild Abuse & Neglect, 90, 88-98. [Retrieved on: 24.12.2021]

Fernando, T., & Bennett, B. (2019). Creating a culturally safe space when teaching Aboriginal content in social work: A scoping review. Australian Social Work, 72(1), 47-61. [Retrieved on: 24.12.2021]
Dachs, B., Kinkel, S., &Jäger, A. (2019). Bringing it all back home? Backshoring of manufacturing activities and the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies. Journal of World Business, 54(6), 101017. [Retrieved on: 24.12.2021]


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