Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association writes a letter of protest to the NSW Premier

Aboriginal activism for equal rights. Fred Maynard, leader of the Australian Aboriginal Progressive Association writes a letter of protest to the NSW Premier seeking equal citizen, land and management of the self rights:

“I wish to make it perfectly clear on behalf of our people, that we accept no condition of inferiority as compared with European people. Two distinct civilisations are represented by the respective races…That the European people by the arts of war destroyed our more ancient civilisation is freely admitted, and that by their vices and diseases our people have been decimated is also patent. But neither of these facts are evidence of superiority. Quite the contrary is the case. Furthermore, I may refer in passing, to the fact that your present scheme of old age pensions was obtained from our more ancient code, as likewise your child endowment scheme and widows pensions. Our divorce laws may yet find a place on the Statute Book. The members of the Board [the AAPA] have also noticed the strenuous efforts of the trade union leaders to attain the conditions which existed in our country at the time of the invasion by Europeans – the men only worked when necessary, we called no man ‘master’ and we had no king. We are therefore, striving to obtain full recognition of our citizen rights on terms of absolute equality with all other people in our land. The request made by this Association for sufficient land for each eligible family is justly based. The Australian people are the original owners of this land and have a prior right over all other people in this respect. Our request to supervise our own affairs is no innovation. The Catholic people in our country possess the right to control their own schools and homes, and take pride in the fact that they possess this privilege. The Chinese, Greeks, Jews and Lutherans are similarly favoured and our people are entitled to precisely the same conditions”. (Maynard, Fred Maynard and the AAPA, 1997, p9)