In 1971, Neville Bonner became the first Aboriginal person in Federal Parliament and represented Queensland as a Liberal Party Senator until
1983. He was a strong advocate for Indigenous rights and urged other Indigenous people to enter Parliament as a way of becoming part of the decision-making process.
From 1960 Neville Bonner was a member of the One People Australia League, a moderate Aboriginal rights organisation. He served as one of the league’s directors and was president from 1968 to 1975. This One People Australia League badge was owned and worn by Bonner to show his support and membership of the organisation.
This badge was produced in the 1920s during debate over construction of the Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne. It is part of a collection of badges assembled by the Hussey family of Healesville, Victoria. Their badges were worn to support and fundraise for the war effort and returned soldiers during and after the First World War. The collection was probably added to by Mrs Sarah Hussey whose sons Charles and William, enlisted and died during the war. In 1920, Sarah Hussey wrote a letter to the Australian Army regarding a badge issued to female relatives of soldiers:
“I am entitled to a badge with 2 bars as I have lost 2 boys and have never received anything to show for them. Others have received them and their boys are back and mine are gone … hoping I receive something to show for their leaving home to fight for their country.”
“When I was a teacher in a NSW primary school, thematic years was a constant focus for educational programs. We were all willing to do our
bit to help whatever cause was emphasised in a particular year. However, when Kids Year was introduced several of us at my school — overworked and underpaid — were more than challenged and a little fed-up. Every year is kid’s year in schools! Nevertheless we went ahead and organised concerts and encouraged stories and projects to be written. I just wonder how many kids are aware of the effort that goes into their education in any year, Kid’s Year or not.”
Eric, Australian Capital Territory
“I was 19 years old in 1972 and like all young Australians had lived my entire life under a Coalition Government. There was a movement for change and the Australian Labor Party’s election campaign with its ‘It’s time’ slogan had strong appeal for young people with progressive ideas who were impatient for change. I recall wearing my ‘It’s time’ t-shirt to university exams where the message had a rather different meaning. I wore the ‘It’s time’ badge whenever I wasn’t wearing the t-shirt.”
“In the 1980s I was living in England, and like many I was worried sick about the possibility of a nuclear war. Soviet missiles were aimed at Southern England, thanks to the mobile Cruise missile launchers at the USAF base at Greenham Common. We couldn’t do much about Soviet weapons, but we could try to remove their targets.
Cruisewatch provided a perimeter of observation and communication beyond the Women’s Peace Camp at Greenham Common. For two years members were out every night observing Cruise missile exercises, getting word to towns near where missiles were deployed and warning people when they became nuclear targets. I was doing what I could — intervening directly but peacefully to prevent the unthinkable violence of nuclear war and keeping faith with generations of peace activists. We stopped Cruise — it was a small but important victory.”
Michael, Australian Capital Territory
“The 1982 Commonwealth Games became a rallying point for Aboriginal people and their supporters to bring attention to draconian conditions in Queensland. This badge was part of the campaign. I wasn’t able to attend protests in Queensland but I held fundraising events to assist others to go. One such event was a dinner and film night held at my home. It took us three days to prepare and seventy people attended. We raised $300. This was a campaign I was proud to support and to this day remember the mammoth effort that went into the preparations and the good time had by all.”
Joan, Australian Capital Territory
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