Europeans invaded Australia in 1778 (Gray et al 2014, p.482). Since then the aboriginal people have been oppressed, and their existence has been accompanied by many extreme challenges. The problems have lasted up to the twentieth century (Malinowiski 2015, n.p). Other races have treated the aboriginals negatively. When the six governing colonies were to become members of the Commonwealth in 1901, the aboriginals were not counted, the states ended up retaining power over the aboriginal affairs (Gray et al 2014, p.482). The government established the aboriginal’s community away from other communities 30Km from Gympie (Gray et al 2014, p.482). They were based on the natural reserves and rules governing their land were created. All other people were to be provided for security except the aboriginals. The aboriginal’s children were also eliminated from public schools since the NSW Aborigines Act established their schools (Gray et al 2014, p.482). Women were also mistreated since after introduction of maternity allowance the indigenous women were not involved in the program (Attwood 2014, p.171). The aborigines could not drink or possess alcohol shops as well as have sexual intercourse with people of other races (Gray et al 2014, p.482). The aboriginal people were directly exposed to inequality, injustice, protectionist policies and dispossession of land. The history of treatment of indigenous Australians over the last century has a lot of impact upon the ethical practice of engineering (Goodman et al 2017, p.87). Ethical practices in design are based on honesty, fairness, impartiality, equity and protection of public health, safety and welfare (Bhat & Rajyalakshmi 2015, p.68).
The aboriginals were segregated in all aspects of life, and they did not practice democracy. Their children could not attend the public schools (Gray et al 2014, p.482). The fact that all other communities were offered security services shows the magnitude of segregation against aboriginals was very high. The Aboriginals could not drink and establish businesses as the rest of the citizens. The indigenous Australians were not given access to social services especially hospitals. Dangerous diseases like smallpox, which led to many deaths, affected the majority of the aboriginals. The diseases were also because of sailing activities as the Europeans invaded their region. Equity and fairness are fundamental issues in engineering code of ethics (Bhat & Rajyalakshmi 2015, p.68). In the performance of their task, engineers should exhibit highest standards of impartiality and equity. The treatment of identified clients should be fair irrespective of ethnicity. The performance of engineers should be distributed fairly and should be equitable to all customers. Services offered by engineers have a direct and vital impact on quality of life for all people.
The history of the aboriginals also states that protective services were provided unfairly. The aboriginal’s women were not given a chance to access the services since they were limited to the other communities (Gray et al 2014, p.482). It appears to be animalism behavior portrayed by the Europeans, and clearly, they had no respect for human life. The Europeans were not keen on respecting public health, safety, and welfare on their treatment of the aboriginals. Engineering as a profession insists on dedication to protecting public health, security, and well-being as part of ethical considerations. In protection of health and public safety, engineers should be very keen on areas pertaining their profession. Engineers should approve only engineering documents which meet the applicable standards. Qualified personnel is expected to perform a reliable task. Once engineers perform work which meets the standards, random accidents are curbed especially the engineers dealing with building and constructions (Bhat & Rajyalakshmi 2015, p.68). The engineering departments of different countries are very keen on planning activities. If any engineer involves himself or herself in activities to endanger life or property, it is compulsory that they face the law and the client, as well as people affected, may be compensated. As an ethical consideration, engineers should be dedicated to the protection of public health, safety, and welfare of the public.
The aboriginal’s history also shows that the Europeans were not honest to the missionaries who aimed at proclaiming the indigenous community rights. After the missionaries established a community for the aboriginals and provided social services, the Europeans were keen on absorbing the services (Gray et al 2014, p.482). The concern of ministers usually bore no fruits, as the Europeans could not submit their inhuman actions (Bennet & Babbage 2014, p.19). The deeds of Europeans impacts the ethical practice of engineering. Honesty is an essential issue in design ethical considerations (Nobles 2014, p.119). Engineers should be in a position to acknowledge their errors and advice their clients together with their employees when they believe an individual project will not be successful (Treloar et al. 2016, p.18). Any engineer should remain focused to his employment and should not concentrate on a different task without notifying his or her employer. Integrity is also required in engineering, as engineers are not expected to promote their interest at the expense of the dignity of the profession (Rodger et al. 2015, p.16). The history of the treatment of indigenous Australians has significant impact on the ethical practice of engineering.
As an engineer, I find the treatment of aboriginal communities by Europeans very inhuman. The aboriginals should, however, try as much as possible to forget such eras and the treatments. Although they were negatively treated and opposed in all aspects of life, it is not important to take it personally. It is because once they make it, personal hatred may be passed from generations to generations to the Europeans. The aboriginals should in return develop respect for the human dignity, especially in the 21st century. We need one another in different aspects of life, and therefore we should be in a position to respect one another irrespective of our ethnic groups, color and political opinions. Today, the aboriginals should insist on fairness, equity, honesty and impartiality to everyone in their communities. They should also be dedicated to protecting the public health, safety, and welfare. Once they practice the above values, peaceful co-existence will be witnessed between different ethnic groups. In addition, cases pertaining racial segregation will be protected from happening in future.
The treatment history of the indigenous Australians portrays how some countries especially the Europeans had no respect for human life. Poor treatment of human life and rival segregation was not only witnessed in Australia but also in India and almost all African countries. Inhuman activities Australian indigenous people was described by land grabbing and pushing the remnants to the native reserves, segregation in public social services and denial of democracy rights. Europeans in Australia exposed the aboriginals to many different challenges, which resulted in a high number of deaths. The aboriginals were exposed to dangerous diseases, and they had no access to public hospitals since they were seen as less valuable and inferior. From the historical treatment of the indigenous Australians, direct impact on ethical practice in engineering. Ethical practice in design entails honesty, fairness, equity, impartiality and dedication to the protection of public health, safety, and welfare. Engineering as a profession has a direct and vital effect on the quality of life for all people. The Europeans never observed these values in the treatment of their originals. They considered them as useless and took all that belonged to them because they were considered inferior. It was unfair treatment of human race as opposed to engineering ethical practices. The history has many impacts upon ethical design practice. Today things have changed since there is the value of human race in almost all countries globally. People from different ethnic groups are treated equally, and the practices move hand in hand to issues pertaining ethical engineering responsibilities.
Attwood, B., 2014. Law, History and Power: The British Treatment of Aboriginal Rights in Land in New South Wales. The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 42(1), pp.171-192.
Attwood, B., Burrage, W., Burrage, A. and Stokie, E., 2015. A life together, a life apart: a history of relations between Europeans and Aborigines. Melbourne Univ. Publishing.
Bennett, S.T. and Babbage, D.R., 2014. Cultural adaptation of CBT for Aboriginal Australians. Australian Psychologist, 49(1), pp.19-21.
Bhat, S., & Rajyalakshmi, M. (2015). Curricular influence and perceptions of engineering graduates on socio ethical issues related to Biotechnology. Journal of Engineering Education Transformations, 29(2), 68-71.
Gray, D., Wilson, M., Allsop, S., Saggers, S., Wilkes, E., & Ober, C. (2014). Barriers and enablers to the provision of alcohol treatment among Aboriginal Australians: a t hematic review of five research projects. Drug and alcohol review, 33(5), 482-490.
Goodman, A., Fleming, K., Markwick, N., Morrison, T., Lagimodiere, L., Kerr, T. and Society, W.A.H.R., 2017. “They treated me like crap and I know it was because I was Native”: The healthcare experiences of Aboriginal peoples living in Vancouver's inner city. Social Science & Medicine, 178, pp.87-94.
Malinowski, B., 2015. The family among the Australian Aborigines: a sociological study (Vol. 1). Library of Alexandria.
Nobles, M., 2014. Revisiting the ‘Membership Theory of Apologies’: Apology Politics in Australia and Canada. In On the Uses and Abuses of Political Apologies (pp. 119- 137). Palgrave Macmillan UK.
Rodger, J.C., Supramaniam, R., Gibberd, A.J., Smith, D.P., Armstrong, B.K., Dillon, A. and O'connell, D.L., 2015. Prostate cancer mortality outcomes and patterns of primary treatment for Aboriginal men in New South Wales, Australia. BJU international, 115(S5), pp.16-23. Treloar, C., Jackson, L.C., Gray, R., Newland, J., Wilson, H., Saunders, V., Johnson, P. and Brener, L., 2016. Multiple stigmas, shame and historical trauma compound the experience of Aboriginal Australians living with hepatitis C. Health Sociology Review, 25(1), pp.18-32.
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