The Petition to the King

William Cooper harnesses public disgust with the commissioning of police retribution squad, to agitate for his petition.

William Cooper harnesses public disgust with the commissioning of police retribution squad, to agitate for his petition.

In September 1933, William Cooper began approaching various bodies with authority over indigenous affairs, asking if they would grant him permission to distribute a petition. The petition, once collected, would be delivered to King George V.

Its main aim was to pressure the monarch, and, in turn, the Government of Australia, to introduce a new Member of the House of Representatives would would stand for the interests of Aborigines. Using the style of that particular genre, it asked the following. The petition was published in the Melbourne daily, Herald, on 15 September 1933 and state that:

Whereas it was not only a moral duty, but also a strict injunction included in the commission issued to those who came to people Australia that the original occupants and we, their heirs and successors, should be adequately cared for; and whereas the terms of the commission have not been adhered to, in that (a) our lands have been expropriated by your Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth, (b) legal status is denied to us by your Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth; and whereas all petitions made in our behalf to your Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth have failed: your petitioners therefore humbly pray that your Majesty will intervene in our behalf and through the instrument of your Majesty’s Government in the Commonwealth grant to our people representation in~ the Federal Parliament, either in the person of one of our own blood or by a white man known to have studied our needs and to be in sympathy with our race.

An original is held in the National Archives of Australia, and is reproduced here:
william-cooper-petition

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