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One People of Australia League


One People of Australia League

Source: Fryer Library, University of Queensland.

The One People of Australia League (OPAL) was formed in 1961 in Queensland, and was comprised predominantly of members from the mainstream Christian churches and service organisations. Many of OPAL's members were critical of the Queensland Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, who they saw as subversively pro-Communist. OPAL was one of the few Aboriginal advancement or rights organisations to never affiliate with the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (FCAATSI).

OPAL was overtly assimilationist in orientation and, until 1975 when its goal became the promotion of cooperation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, its stated aim was the 'welding' of these two groups. OPAL was critical of overt political activism, preferring instead to liaise with the Queensland government - from whom it received large monetary grants - and those Indigenous people in need of housing, education or welfare assistance. Thus it was difficult for OPAL to criticise the activities of the Queensland government. Neville Bonner, Australia's first Indigenous senator, was president of OPAL from 1968 to 1975.

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