The declaration by Queensland then Premier Joh Bjelke-Petersen that Brisbane was to host the 1982 Commonwealth Games took place during a long period of struggle for land rights and self-determination by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of Queensland. The Indigenous population of Queensland were still living under the conditions of the controversial Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protection Act 1971, known as The Act, where they were denied the civil liberties that the rest of the population took for granted.
When the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people learned of the announcement that Brisbane was to be the host city to the 1982 Commonwealth Games, it was seen as a platform to highlight their struggle on not only a national, but an international level. Australia’s Indigenous peoples saw an opportunity to direct international attention to The Act and other issues of concern such as land rights.
State of Emergency is an exhibition at the State Library of Queensland