The 1970s was a period of unprecedented political agency and legislative change in Aboriginal people's struggles for the recognition of postcolonial rights. What is significant is that they didn't just seek rights to be granted to them, but for some measure of rights to be restored to them.
Against this background, rural communities where large Aboriginal populations lived, were in foment as a consequence of political and economic change, major structural change, social fragmentation and unparalleled unemployment.
Politically, neoliberalism became the new orthodoxy recasting the state's role in the economy and redefining government programs and services. In Protest Land Rights and Riots, Barry Morris shows how those policies targeted those least integrated socially and culturally and who enjoyed fewer legitimate economic opportunities. The so-called riots, protests and law-and-order campaigns of the time captured much of the tense relations that existed between Indigenous people, the police and the criminal justice system.