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1.7 1962 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians’ right to vote

<p>Illustration of people, including Aboriginal people, voting. Produced in 1970 by the Western Australian government in order to educate people (especially in remote communities) about voting.</p>

National Library of Australia

<p>Illustration of people, including Aboriginal people, voting. Produced in 1970 by the Western Australian government in order to educate people (especially in remote communities) about voting.</p>

It is 1962.

There has been a long struggle for voting rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Past laws extending the franchise to women usually still excluded many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and their voting rights have become complex and confused.

Will the passing of a clear and explicit Act to give all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults the vote finally establish this right?

Read the information in the Defining Moment in Australian history: 1962 Indigenous Australians granted the right to vote and answer the questions that follow.

1. When did some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men first gain the right to vote?

2. When did the first Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women get the vote?

3. When did most Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people get the right to vote in federal elections?

4. What was the status of Aboriginal citizenship in those states that had restricted voting rights?

5. What did the 1962 Electoral Act do?

6. This Act did not give Aboriginal people full voting equality with other Australians? Why not?

7. When did Aboriginal people gain full voting equality with other Australians?

8. What was the significance of gaining the right to vote for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights?

9. How would this event have influenced the development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s rights over time?

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