- February 1958
- c. 1978
- Alternative Names
- Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement (previous name, 1958 - 1964)
- National Aboriginal and Islander Liberation Movement (subsequent name, 1978)
The Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders developed out of a conference of interested groups who met in Adelaide in 1958. The meeting resulted in in the formation of the Federal Council for Aboriginal Advancement and the election of the executive. Membership was opened to Aboriginal advancement organisations and to other organisations which supported the Council's platform to repeal discriminatory legislation at state and federal levels; amend the federal constitution to enable the Commonwealth Government to legislate for Aborigines; improve the lives of Aboriginal people through housing, equal pay, education and adequate rations in remote areas; and advocate land rights. In 1964, the organisation was renamed to include Torres Strait Islanders in the title, becoming the Federal Council for the Advancement of Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders.
One of FCAATSI's major campaigns was for constitutional change, which was instrumental in establishing the 1967 Referendum. FCAATSI membership was divided in 1970, after motions were put to reserve membership of the executive and voting rights at general meetings to people of Aboriginal or Islander descent. The National Tribal Council, run by and for Indigenous Australians, was subsequently formed as a separate organisation. In March 1978 FCAATSI changed its name to the National Aboriginal and Islander Liberation Movement, but this organisation never met. The same year, the federal government cut funding to the organisation, and it was disbanded.
Sources used to compile this entry: Horton, David (ed.), The Encyclopaedia of Aboriginal Australia : Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, society and culture, Aboriginal Studies Press for AIATSIS, Canberra, 1994, 2 v. (xxxiii, 1340 p.) pp.