Queensland premier Peter Beattie & Aboriginal Affairs Minister Judy Spence in 2002

From the late 19th century to as late as the 1980s, state governments across Australia controlled the wages and savings of the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia, under various "protection acts". Protection acts controlled various aspects of Indigenous Australians' lives, including where they could live, where they could travel and who they could marry. Such acts invariably also regulated, in minute detail, the kind of work they could do, and what happened to their money.