[T]here is a basic need to have Aborigines as spokesmen for their own people; and I believe that while this organization, and this Executive, have sought to encourage Aboriginal leadership, we have not done it. The council eventually changed its name to the National Aboriginal and Islander Liberation Movement (NAILM) to reflect its change in focus, but when state funding was removed in 1978, the organisation disbanded. From the original 25 founding members, the organisation's membership grew to 220 in 1965; over the same timeframe, the number of aboriginal members grew from 4 to 65. Faith Bandler took over as acting General Secretary, moving the headquarters to Sydney in the process. It was hard to measure success, but all contributed to changing public opinion to an acceptance that Aboriginal people deserved rights. , In 1962, a national campaign was launched, following a partition by the Aboriginal-Australian Fellowship, in order to push for a more active involvement in Aboriginal affairs at a Commonwealth level. , In 1964, the organisation's remit was expanded to include Torres Strait Islanders, and the name was therefore changed to the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders. FCAATSI believed the 1967 vote for change had to be overwhelming so the government would take their new responsibilities seriously. ... however the government was unmoved and refused to support the idea of a referendum. Aboriginal Membership Controversy (1967-1970) The 1967 Referendum was seen as a major success for Aboriginal rights, however it signaled an end of unity in the FCAATSI. This division came to a head in the Annual Conference of 1970, in which motions were tabled proposing a restriction on membership and voting rights to indigenous members. , The dream of an indigenous-controlled council was finally realised in 1973, however with an increase in the number of non-affiliated organisations campaigning for indigenous rights, and the formation of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and the National Aboriginal Consultative Committee, the importance of the FCAATSI diminished. The meeting culminated in the foundation of the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement, designed to unite existing lobby groups, with a goal to help "the Aboriginal people of Australia to become self-reliant, self-supporting members of the community". In 1967, in response to a Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) petition calling for a referendum on sections 51 and 127 of the Constitution, the Holt Coalition Government introduced the Constitution Alteration (Aboriginals) Bill 1967 to the Parliament. The "Report on Aboriginal and European Leadership in FCAATSI", written by Barrie Pittock and published in the council's Annual Report of 1968, expresses this desire for more indigenous leadership, and echoes discontent that this has not been sufficiently met:. Allegations were made that the organisation was not representative of indigenous peoples, as the Executive Council had a white majority. In 1962 the FCAATSI began a national petition, not only collecting names and support but also educating Australians about various discriminations in State laws. The Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI), founded in Adelaide, South Australia as the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement (FCAA) on 16 February 1958, was a civil rights organisation which campaigned for the welfare of Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, and the first national body representing Aboriginal interests. , Aboriginal Membership Controversy (1967-1970), 1967 Referendum on Aboriginal Australians, Australian referendum, 1967 (Aboriginals), Self-determination of Australian Aborigines, "Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI) - Collaborating for Indigenous Rights", "Report of the Select Committee Appointed to Inquire into Native Welfare Conditions in the Laverton-Warburton Range Area", "Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders", "Constitution of the National Aboriginal and Islander Liberation Movement", "National Aboriginal & Islanders Liberation Movement", Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders, Australian Aboriginal Progress Association, National Congress of Australia's First Peoples, Office of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations, Northern Territory National Emergency Response, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Federal_Council_for_the_Advancement_of_Aborigines_and_Torres_Strait_Islanders&oldid=962676069, All Wikipedia articles written in Australian English, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement (FCAA), Equal citizenship rights with other Australian citizens, An adequate standard of living equivalent to that expected by other Australians, Equal pay for equal work and the same industrial protection as for other Australians, Free and compulsory education for detribalised Aborigines, This page was last edited on 15 June 2020, at 11:55.  This was the first national body representing Aboriginal interests. Allegations were made that the organisation was not representative of indigenous peoples, as the Executive Council had a white majority. The idea of uniting Aboriginal rights groups in order to form a united lobbying forces had existed for some time, fuelled by periodic concern for the plight of Indigenous Australians; however two occurrences in the mid-1950s encouraged renewed discussion of the issue. The emerging alternative opinion was that the time had come for indigenous peoples to take full control of lobbying efforts and base their agenda solely on indigenous matters.  These events motivated activist Shirley Andrews to begin planning a meeting of concerned parties in 1957. , Discontent with the lack of involvement of indigenous members in the leadership of the organisation was accompanied with questioning of the focus on a common struggle between different races. Only groups which had "earned themselves the right to be considered seriously as organisations fighting on behalf of Aborigines" and some newer groups which had proven worthy were invited. , The 1967 Referendum was seen as a major success for Aboriginal rights, however it signaled an end of unity in the FCAATSI. In April, FCAATSI organised a deputation to Canberra to seek support for a 'Yes' vote on the Aboriginal question  .  This eventually led to the resignation of the General Secretary, Stan Davey, as well as two other high-ranking Aboriginal executives, Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Charles Perkins. , On February 13, 1958, a meeting was held in Willard Hall, in Wakefield Street, Adelaide, attended by 12 delegates from nine Aboriginal rights and welfare leagues and 12 observers. Longtime campaigner for Aboriginal rights and one of the oldest delegates and then president of the Aborigines Advancement League of South Australia, Charles Duguid, was elected as the first president. This meeting was considered to have been crucial in the change in government attitude, which led to the hugely successful 1967 Referendum, giving the Australian Parliament the power to legislate for Aboriginal peoples.  The failure of these motions led to their proponents leaving the organisation, resulting in the formation of the National Tribal Council by Oodgeroo Noonuccal and Douglas Nicholls, which lasted three years before disbanding.  At the same time, public concern was raised over living conditions among nomadic Aborigines living on the Warburton Ranges following the publication of a report and a subsequent film shot by Bill Grayden and Douglas Nicholls. By the end of the year, the petition had over 100,000 signatures, and after continuous lobbying, members of the council were able to meet with Prime Minister Robert Menzies in 1965. The London Anti-Slavery Society began planning to approach the United Nations on behalf of Australian Aboriginals, accompanied by an information gathering visit of Australia by Lady Jessie Street. On March 2nd 1967 Prime Minister Holt introduced legislation for a referendum to be held on May 27, 1967. The 1967 referendum was an important advance for the indigenous people of Australia. , The organisation grew in numbers, especially among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. From 1963, an annual conference was held in Canberra, Capital Territory, attracting delegates from 65 affiliated organisation, with one third of attendees at the conference in 1970 being indigenous. , To this aim, five key principles were established:, It was a significant milestone to bring together the disparate groups under an umbrella organisation. The Aborigines Advancement League sought to disaffiliate from about 1959, achieving this in 1966, because it thought the federal organisation too focussed on the state of Victoria. Different lobby groups focussed on different aspects of Aboriginal welfare or rights and members varied in composition, but they all desired to effect change. It was influential in lobbying in favour of the 1967 Referendum on Aboriginal Australians, before being renamed and split in two in 1970.
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