Assimilation and Genocide of Indigenous Australia.
"Anyone who closes his eyes to the past is blind to the present. Whoever refuses to remember the inhumanity is prone to risks of re-infection.".
Richard Von Weiszaecker, former President of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Very few people use the word genocide when discussing the strife the Australian indigenous people endured. Almost all historians of the Aboriginal experience, black and white, avoid it. Typically, they write about pacifying, killing, cleansing, excluding, exterminating, starving, poisoning, shooting, beheading, sterilizing, exiling, but they avoid genocide. Could it be that most understand genocide on one level only? For many, and especially Australians, genocide is something of the Germans, Cambodians and Hutus, not the Australians. As for the rest of the world, the experience of the indigenous people of Australia is not as familiar as the images of Auschwitz or the Killing Fields of Cambodia. Clearly, there is no Australian Dachau. In this paper, I will examine the experience of the indigenous people of Australia and the lack of action on behalf of the Australian government. I will also investigate the extent to which the policies and practices of the colonial Australian government in the period 1838 to 1911 can be classified as "genocide", using the United Nations Genocide Convention of 1948 (which Australia ratified in 1951) as a guideline, as well as comparing the indigenous Australian experience under British State control with that of the Jews under Nazi rule during the Holocaust.
As Australian federal law stands to this date, it is not illegal to commit domestic genocide in Australia. Although the Australian government signed the international United Nations Genocide Convention Bill in 1948, and ratified it in 1951, since then none of its provisions have been implemented into federal law. .
What is genocide?.
Firstly one must understand exactly what is meant by the term "genocide".