Department of Aboriginal Affairs
|Formed||19 December 1972|
|Dissolved||5 March 1990|
|Jurisdiction||Commonwealth of Australia|
The Department was one of several new departments established by the Whitlam Government, a wide restructuring that revealed some of the new government's program. After the Whitlam Government was dismissed in 1975, the department had its budget cut by 43 percent in the Fraser Government's first budget, in 1976.
In 1980, the Fraser Government established the Aboriginal Development Commission. Media speculated at the time that the Government was considering abolishing the department, but it was not abolished until 1990, when it was amalgamated with the Aboriginal Development Commission to create the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. A "wake" was held on 2 March 1990 by staff, to mark the department's demise.
Information about the department's functions and/or government funding allocation could be found in the Administrative Arrangements Orders, the annual Portfolio Budget Statements and in the Department's annual reports.
According to the Administrative Arrangements Order issued 19 December 1972, at its creation, the Department was responsible for:
- Matters related to the Aboriginal people of Australia.
- The development and administration of national policies for the advancement and welfare of the Aboriginal people, including the administration of welfare activities in the Territories.
- Special laws for the Aboriginal people.
- CA 1476: Department of Aboriginal Affairs, Central Office, National Archives of Australia, retrieved 15 December 2013
- National Archives of Australia, Gough Whitlam: In Office, National Archives of Australia, archived from the original on 19 April 2013
- Waterford, Jack (21 May 1976). "Aboriginal Affairs cut by 43pc". The Canberra Times. p. 9.
- Andrews, Ross (9 November 1980). "Ominous signs for the Department of Aboriginal Affairs". The Canberra Times. p. 7.
- Coelli, Andree (3 March 1990). "'Wake' marks end of era". The Canberra Times. p. 3.
- Administrative Arrangements Order of 19 December 1972 (PDF), National Archives of Australia, 19 December 1972, archived from the original (PDF) on 26 April 2013