Latest News & Events
Michael Gordon, "Indigenous Australia's 'line in sand' on recognition: substantial change or nothing". The Age, March 20, 2017.
Jeremy Clark & Jill Gallagher "Why Indigenous Australia will reject a minimalist referendum question", The Age Newspaper, March 20, 2017.
Patricia Karvelas, "Constitutional recognition: 'Politicians' model' faces lukewarm response by Indigenous Australia" ABC News, March 7, 2017
Michael Gorgon "Be bold, but be prepared to bend, Ken Wyatt implores Aboriginal Australia on constitutional recognition" Syndey Morning Herald, March 1, 2017.
Paul Karp, "Labor calls for new Indigenous body and consideration of reparations" The Guardian Newspaper, February 14, 2017.
At the NSW Referendum Council Dialogues there was a vote against Constitutional Reform by Aboriginal members present. These views will be relayed to the National Convention in Uluru in May.
Mark Leibler in The Age on the writes on the 20th December that "Sections of the media writing off the outcome of consultations around constitutional recognition, after the first of 12 discussions among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in Hobart just over a week ago, are selling the nation short." Read the full article, 'It's way too early to write off Aboriginal Reconciliation' here.
The Social Justice and Native Title Report 2016 has been released. It covers issues including incarceration, constitutional recognition, treaty, child and family welfare To read the full report, please follow this link.
Michael Gordon, “Indigenous recognition a step toward a treaty, not a roadblock, says Bill Shorten” published in The Age Newspaper on December 7. Read here.
The Referendum Council released a Discussion Paper in October. This Discussion Paper sets out some of the different options for change and outlines some of the issues to be taken into account, and requests feedback from Australians. You can read it here.
The Anglican Church has called for Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. To read the full statement, click here.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leader Mark Yettica-Paulson has been appointed as the new joint campaign director of Recognise.
Yettica-Paulson, an Indigenous man from the south-east Queensland and north-east New South Wales regions, founded the Yettica Group, a leadership consultancy, and is a former chief executive of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre.
In comments to Guardian Australia, Yettica-Paulson described the need to keep up momentum for constitutional recognition while a model for recognition was agreed on. He said the conversation about treaties with Indigenous peoples was also a “vital and important” part of reconciliation. Read more
Read Media Release from Recognise
The South Australian Government has signed the RECOGNISE charter of support. In May, Premier Weatherill and Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Kyam Maher furthered South Australia’s commitment to RECOGNISE and reconciliation.
At the end of August, an historic meeting of the delegates of the Central and Northern Land Councils at Kalkaringi agreed on a shared position on constitutional recognition.
On 29 August the Indigenous MPs Ken Wyatt, Jacqui Lambie, Patrick Dodson and Linda Burney launched a campaign called Why I Recognise, to raise awareness of reasons to recognise the First Australians in the constitution.
The Referendum Council will be holding nation-wide Aboriginal community consultations over next few months. The Council recently released a communique indicating that a 2017 referendum was unrealistic due to the need for more consultation and that 2018 was more realistic. It will provide an interim report to the PM and Leader of the Opposition on 8 Sept and a final report next year.
"Why 'recognition' of Indigenous Australians isn't enough". Australia is crawling toward recognising the nation's first people in the constitution, but even if it makes it, will the country have achieved anything meaningful? Waleed Aly, Scott Stephens and Megan Davis explain why the concept of 'recognition' in fact skips over 40,000 years of history. The Minefield, ABC RN, 11 August.
Plans for a referendum on Indigenous recognition in the Australian constitution to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the landmark 1967 vote on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights have been abandoned, as a consultation report is delayed until mid-2017. (The Age, 10 August) Read more
Listen to recently elected MP and Shadow Minister Linda Burney and Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, discussing Constitutional Recognition and Treaty on Radio National's Breakfast (25 July)
Recognition or treaty ... Why not both? KATE GALLOWAY
Newly appointed Senator for Western Australia, Pat Dodson, in his first week on the job, raised the thorny political question of treaty. I see the need for both treaty and constitutional reform, which support each other in promoting justice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. But the limitations of my understanding are both that I am a lawyer, and that I am not an Indigenous Australian. I need to heed the diverse voices of Indigenous Australia in understanding what is truly at stake. Read more
Justice for Aboriginals grows out of recognition FRANK BRENNAN
It is now more than three years (and three prime ministers) since the expert panel set up by the Gillard government reported on how the Constitution might be amended to provide recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. When I read the report, my heart sank. It had put forward a comprehensive, but unachievable and unworkable proposal for change. The lesson from 1967 is that a modest change carried overwhelmingly by the Australian people provides the impetus for change. Read more
Recognise recently announced the departure of Joint Campaign Director Tanya Hosch – who will be filling a newly created executive role leading Inclusion and Social Policy with the AFL. Tanya has shown extraordinary commitment, courage and tenacity and we wish her all the best in her exciting new role.
There has been a growing amount of conversation and commentary around the question of whether we can simultaneously pursue both Treaty and Constitutional Recognition. See below for a sample of this public discussion:
Seeking a settlement: How does the reinvigorated treaty movement fit with recognition? Megan Davies, The Monthly.
Treaty is the demand of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people beyond a single constitutional moment, writes Mark MacMillan. NITV, 16 June
Without a treaty and constitutional recognition, no Australian is truly free - Stan Grant. NITV, 16 June
Prominent Indigenous Australians throw weight behind constitutional change and treaty debate, ABC News, 3 June.
Let's have treaty and constitutional recognition, Indigenous referendum chief says. Canberra Times, 27 May
In a sobering assessment of the complexities of constitutional change and the current political reality, Senator Patrick Dodson recently argued it could be years before Australians get to vote on changing the country’s founding document to include recognition of Australia’s First Peoples. Read the full National Indigenous Times article, published 20 June.
NITV takes a look in this useful online "Explainer" of what is a Treaty, what it might look like and the current conversation on Indigenous treaties on a state, national and international level.
On 26 - 27 May, Aboriginal Victoria hosted a two-day Aboriginal community forum to discuss self-determination, treaty and representative structures. View this video of the forums
During NRW Melbourne Conversations held a forum Recognition, treaty, sovereignty and self-determination – facts and ambitions. View the video
Read also this Age editorial: Indigenous treaty merits election debate, The Age, 26 June.
The Federal Government’s Referendum Council is considering an 'agreement making' power which could see Indigenous communities negotiating treaties.
The 13 member Referendum Council is considering five options to present to Australians in the necessary referendum to change the Constitution. They include a statement of acknowledgement, reforming the so-called ‘race power’ in section 51-26 of the Constitution, a new Indigenous advisory body, a legally binding protection against racial discrimination and the agreement making power.
ABC's The Weekly with Charlie Pickering covered the topic of Constitutional Recognition this week with Adam Briggs advocating both recognition and further substantial treaty development. You can watch the video here , the story also picked up some alternate web media coverage for the issue in Junkee and New Matilda
Pat Anderson, the newly appointed co-chair of the Referendum Council has clearly stated that there are “a range of options on the table” as she backed away from committing to next May, the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum on Aboriginal rights, as a deadline. Ms Anderson also commented that there would be wide ranging discussions “including if Aboriginal people say they don’t want a referendum and they want a treaty, then we’ll tell the PM that”. To read Stephen Fitzpatrick's full article, published in The Australian Newspaper on the 16th March, please follow this link.
Tanya Hosch, Joint Campaign Director of Recognise, has had an opinion piece published in the Koori Mail on the 9th March. Ms Hosch details how, "Fixing the Constitution will be great for the nation and doesn’t require anyone to put aside the pursuit of other social, cultural, economic or political rights." To read the full article, please follow this link.
Calla Wahlquist's article, 'Indigenous leaders praise Victoria's commitment to talk about treaty'published in The Guardian Newspaper on March 3. Wahlquist details how "Indigenous leaders have praised the Victorian government for agreeing to sit down and talk about a treaty," Erin McKinnon, RecVic's Statewide Coordinator was quoted in the article saying, "... it was possible to achieve constitutional recognition and a treaty, saying the two aims were “not oppositional”."
Linda Burney, the first Aboriginal women to enter NSW politics and now seeking preselection for the federal seat of Barton this year has called for a push for Constitutional Recognition, "I think it is time, absolutely time that this country recognises the truth, and Aboriginal people should be recognised in the Constitution." Read the full article here.
Aboriginal Victoria (formerly known as the Office of Aboriginal Affairs) held an open community meeting at ZINC Federation Square on Wednesday the 3rd of February. The meeting, attended by a diverse and large audience of over 200 Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members and leaders, including both a staff and Council member from Reconciliation Victoria, as well as government bureaucrats. The forum was streamed to 11 regional sites where participants were able to joinin the discussion. Observers were also able to view a live stream of the meeting. To read RecVic's summary of the motions passed and RecVic's position please follow this link.
Significantly, on the release of the 2016 Close the Gap Report, Prime Minister Turnbull declared that holding a referendum in 2017 is achievable.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has urged the government to consider treaty alongside constitutional recognition in an open letter to the Prime minister. "The Australian Greens believe that constitutional recognition should not be purely symbolic and must be supported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,”. You can read the full article here.
Indigenous leader Noel Pearson addressed the National Press Club to reiterate support for constitutional recognition of Indigenous people amongst debate for a republic in Australia "I remain agnostic about the question of the Republic. I think the important question of Indigenous recognition should be the first cab off the rank and the question of whether Australia should become a Republic should be a subsequent and different question". Read the full article here.
Austrlalia Day protests around the country this year organised by Warriors of the Aboriginal Resitance took a theme of protesting for : "Treaty, soveriegnty, decolinisation, culture, land rights, self determination, language, justice and respect for the first law of the land". The protests also marched against ongoing child removal statistics, deaths in custody, forced closures of communities and against Constitutional Recognition of Australia's First Peoples, the national overview of events and full article can be read here.
Shirreen Morris from the Cape York Institute has renewed calls for a more suitable national holiday to celebrate identity raising the idea "that Perhaps we need a new Australia Day; one that better includes all Australians...... Perhaps it should be the date the nation votes for Indigenous constitutional recognition, to ensure the injustices of the past cannot happen again"
You can read the full article here
Green Left Weekly have published an article offering differing opinions from the Aboriginal community about the validity and direction of the campaign for Constitution Recognition. “Recognising Aboriginal people in the constitution embeds into Australia's make up the idea that Aboriginal people are a race that need government to advance and to make laws and policies on our behalf. It denies any right to self determination or control over our own affairs” - Phil Winzer (Ngarabul/ Gamliaraay). The full article can be read here.
Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke and newly appointed Referendum Council member Noel Pearson delivered speeches at the Woodford folk festival this month in support of Constitutional Recognition. Noel Pearson gave an address to highlight the need for bipartisan support and emphasising “changing sections of the constitution would not solve the problems many Indigenous Australians still face”. You can read more here. Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke gave a wide ranging speech touching on many current Australian issues as well as calling to recognise Indigenous Australians in its constitution. Read the full article here.
On 7 December the Federal Government announced the establishment of the long-awaited Referendum Council, who's role it will be to oversee the community consultations to finalise the wording for a referendum to recognise the First Australians in the Australian Constitution and deal with its remaining discriminatory clauses.
The Council was a key recommendation from the meeting of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives with the then Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten in July.
Welcoming the announcement Tanya Hosch, Campaign Director with Recognise and member of the new body, said “the Referendum Council is a critical step along the road to a successful referendum campaign.
“The Council was a suggestion supported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives during the meeting in Sydney on 6 July this year. An important element in the success of the Council will be bi-‐partisan support.” Ms Hosch said the RECOGNISE campaign will continue to build community awareness and support for the need for constitutional change.
Professor Patrick Dodson (replaced by Pat Anderson upon becoming a Senator in May 2016) and Mr Mark Leibler AC will be the Co-Chairs of the Referendum Council. Professor Dodson and Mr Leibler were the Co-Chairs of the former Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.
The other members of the Referendum Council are: Ms Pat Anderson AO; Professor Megan Davis; Mr Andrew Demetriou; Mr Murray Gleeson AC QC; Mr Mick Gooda; Ms Tanya Hosch; Professor Kristina Keneally; Ms Jane McAloon; Mr Michael Rose; Ms Natasha Stott Despoja AM; Mr Noel Pearson; Ms Amanda Vanstone; Ms Dalassa Yorkston and Dr Galarrwuy Yunupingu AM.
The latest round of polling, by independent research firm Polity, conducted during July and August this year, has showed that awareness of the proposal for constitutional recognition rose to 63 per cent from 37 per cent in March. Among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians it increased from 52 per cent to 73 per cent. The polling also showed that if the referendum had been held at the time of the survey, 79 per cent of the general Australian community and 85 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians would have voted YES.
According to Joint Campaign Director of Recognise, Tanya Hosch, “This surge of awareness and support can’t be taken for granted. The Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader must urgently reach agreement on the composition of the Referendum Council so the next big step towards a model and a referendum can be taken".
Link to Recognise media release here: http://www.recognise.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/101115_Research.pdf
Recent media coverage can be viewed here:
Prime Minister Tony Abbott has back flipped on his opposition to a series of publicly funded Indigenous conventions to debate the the issue of Constitutional Recognition. The move comes in response to backlash from Indigenous leaders Noel Pearson and Patrick Dodson who championed the proposal for Indigenous specific consultation to help reach a consensus among Indigenous community. The Prime Minister whilst not apologising for his inital response stressed the importance of a measured approach “If we were to rush this and come up with something that Indigenous people felt had been foisted on them, or rush it and come up with something that was defeated at a referendum — that would be tragic,’’. A referendum council is expeted to be anounced in the next few weeks to guide the conventions across the country, read the full article here.
A call for Indigenous conventions to lead consultation on shaping a referendum for constitutional recognition has been rejected by the Prime Minister Tony Abott as Indigenous leaders express disappointment in current talks. Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda responded “It’s hard not to feel despair when two of our greatest leaders put up a proposal and it’s just shot down,” referring to the proposal put forward by Patrick Dodson and Noel Pearson. Read the full article here.
Patrick Dodson and Noel Pearson have released a joint article in 'The Australian' calling for greater Indigenous input and consultation regarding Constitutional Recognition. Both have called for Indigenous conferences and convention to come to an Indigenous stance or consensus, wider mainstream consultation and a diplomatic process between indigenous representatives, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and the leader of the Australian Greens, so we can reach multi-party agreement on the model to take to a referendum. Read the full article here.
A renewed call for transparency and a depth of voices to be heard in the debate for Constitutional Recognition has been called for by Darren Parker in The Guardian. The article comes after some Indigenous groups were critical of the transparency involved in hosting the Indigenous leader's summit on July 6th. Read the full article here
Graham K Brown writes an informative article in The Conversation weighing up the differences between recognition vs redistribution and the practical outcomes of constitutional recognition. Brown adds "Constitutional recognition is certainly the thin edge of a wedge, but it is not one Australians should be afraid of. Rather, it should form the basis for a renewed conversation about how Australia can – to paraphrase the Expert Panel – recognise, respect and secure the advancement of Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders", the full article can be read here.
The Indigenous leaders’ summit was held at Kirribilli house on July 6th, with 40 of the country's Indigenous leaders invited to discuss current and pressing issues with the Prime Minister and opposition leader. Discussion at the summit centered on the campaign for Constitutional Recognition and the proposed model and framework that could potentially be put forward.
The summit concluded with strong support from the majority of Indigenous leaders to push the campaign forward with ongoing consultation. However conversations over the final proposal caused a split between two arguments for 'symbolic' recognition and 'radical' change, with debate over proposed section 116A banning racial discrimination. the event was covered by the Guardian here.
Indigenous leader Patrick Dodson hailed the summit "a great occasion, a great event: historic and terribly meaningful in the context of what we're trying to do around a very complicated matter" however Noel Pearson criticized the summit as a largely redundant accusing the government of setting out a staged meeting, the full article can be read here.
The the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister on Indigenous Affairs, Alan Tudge provided a recap of the Indigenous leaders summit on the ABC's 7.30 report. Tudge concluded that ccnsiderable progress had been made at the summit but further grass roots consultation would be required to discuss the topic around the country. Tudge explained that The Joint Select Committee headed up by Ken Wyatt MP would put forward a discussion paper on the proposed models to be discussed, the transcript can be read here.
The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples has released its final report.
Reconciliation Victoria commends the JSC for releasing an in-depth and thorough report. We are pleased to note the inclusion of the protection from racial discrimination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as well the recommendation to amend the Human Rights Act to include the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as one of the international instruments which defines international human rights. There is also a thoughtful discussion on treaty and sovereignty.
Tanya Hosch, Joint Campaign Director of Recognise wrote this article for The Guardian (2 July 2015): Here are the two very simple reasons why you should support Recognise
The Australian's Sarah Martin has published an article titled, "Liberal and Nationals MPs on a key parliamentary committee have backed Labor and the Greens in supporting a ban on racial discrimination in the Constitution, as part of a package of reforms to recognise indigenous Australians." To read the whole article, follow this link.
Noel Pearson's alternate proposal for Constitutional Recognition has been met opposal from Indigenous leaders. On ABC's 'Q and A" Pearson cited a lack of national representation; “At the moment our voice is zero, and our voice has been zero since 1901,” the full article can be read here.
The comment comes after Pearson released an alternate proposal to Constitutional Recognition, calling for a decleration of Recognition and a seperate body specifically set up to advise parliament on matters relating to Indigenous affairs. Prime Minister Tony Abbott's Indigenous adviser Warren Mundine has dismissed the propposal citing failures of similiar concepts in Fiji and Lebanon. Additionally Les Malezer, Co-Chair of The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples questioned how the new proposal would bring any further national representation then previously established representative bodies. To Read More follow the link here.
Tanya Hosch the joint campaign director of Recognise has given an update on Constitutional Recognition at a speech on the 12th of June in South Australia calling for a final model and framework for constitutional recognition to be brought forward and agreed upon before the end of the year. The request comes leading into the July 6th summit on Constitutional Reform, the summit will discuss the finer details of the Constitutional Recognition campaign which the Prime Minister Tony Abbott has suggested a referedum coinceide with the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum in 2017. To read more please follow the link here
Sarah Martin for the Australian Newspaper has reported that the Joint Select Committee may not come to a consensus on a final proposal before the end of the month, instead advising for more time for consultation.The Joint Select Committee were due to release their final report before the end of the month so their recommendations will be amongst the options considered. This deliberation and possible extension is primarily due to the robust discussion around alternative constitutional reform models. To read Martin's full article, 'Hunt for indigenous recognition model goes on' published on June 10. Please follow this link.
A summit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders, as well as the Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten will be meeting on July 6 to discuss the constitutional reform package. RecVic hopes that this summit will provide a new direction, with strong leadership on the issue of constitutional recognition.
There has been significant coverage around the various options for constitutional recognition, and it was a theme for discussion during reconciliation week again this year.
Some of the key articles have been:
Professor Shane Houston, the deputy vice-chancellor (Indigenous strategy and services) at the University of Sydney has written an article titled, "Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians is a once-in-a-generation contribution to our nation's identity" published in The Brisbane Times on June 8. Professor Houston writes, "Some people, including Aboriginal people, argue against the proposed referendum on constitutional recognition because it's not a treaty or because it will not solve all problems. And they are right on both counts. But should this be a case of all or nothing? Some of the great things we have done since 1967 were not even thought bubbles when we voted yes for Aborigines. Constitutional change will help us build a better framework that uses and creates new knowledge, experience, energy and opportunity; nourishment for hearts and minds."
Sarah Martin has written a number of articles, published in The Australian, recently on the issue. "PM calls for more debate on indigenous referendum" ,June 6 and "Aboriginal split will ruin our vote: Lowitja O’Donoghue"on June 4.
Marcia Langton has responded to Frank Brennan's proposal for constitutional reform saying that it sets the bar too low. Ms Langton also discusses the issue of funding of the No campaign in Merideth Booth's article "‘No’ case funding ‘would kill indigenous vote’: Marcia Langton" published in The Australian on June 3. To read the full article, follow this link.
The chairman of the Indigenous Advisory Council has come out against Noel Pearson's proposed model, saying that it is 'dangerous'. Gina Rushton has covered this development in the article, 'Warren Mundine says Noel Pearson’s Declaration of Recognition is ‘dangerous’, published in The Australian on June 7. However Damian Freeman has argued that, "Indigenous people are justified in seeking a voice in their affairs as a form of practical and pragmatic recognition in our constitutional arrangements." and that "Pearson’s consultative body is the most constructive and pragmatic way of creating a mechanism for managing this special relationship that is a product of Australian history." To read Freeman's full article, "Noel Pearson’s proposal for recognition vindicated by history" published in The Australian on June 6, follow this link.
Paul Daley, The Guardian, June 5 - "Myall Creek: here, in 1838, a crime that would not be forgotten took place" Daley's article is significant in reminding us why it is important to understand our history, including the battle sites across our country like the Myall Creek Massacre.
"Megan Davis, the director of the Indigenous Law Centre at the University of NSW, said: “there is an increasing position that anything is better than nothing”, and that Indigenous people are being left out of the debate." To read more of the editor's article in The Guardian, published on the 25th May, follow this link.
Professor Anne Twomey has released a draft constitutional amendment to create an Indigenous representative body, "without compromising parliamentary sovereignty or government efficiency." To read the proposed wording in full, follow this link.
Media Release from Recognise, May 18."IF a referendum vote were held today, three in four Australians (including two in three Coalition voters) would vote yes to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the nation’s Constitution!" To read the full statement, follow this link.
Shalailah Medhora's article, "Majority of Australians 'would vote for Indigenous recognition' in a referendum" published in The Guardian Newspaper on the 18th May. Medhora writes, “The research findings should give confidence to leaders as they seek agreement on the model to be put to voters,” Recognise said. “It confirms the electorate is strongly prepared to back this change. Tony Abbott has indicated he would hold a referendum in 2017 to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders being counted in the census.“It’s more important to get that right than rush it, he told reporters on Monday, adding that recognising Indigenous Australians in the preamble would “complete the constitution, not change it.”
The PM Tony Abbott has implored not to rush this process. In an article written by Sarah Martin for The Australian Newspaper, May 18, "Tony Abbott warns against rushing recognition for First Australians"
Michael Gordon has written in an article in The Age, "Recognition closer as Indigenous leaders meet" on the 17th May. Mick Gooda has, "described the poll findings as "encouraging", but confessed to apprehension about the lack of agreement on wording and hope that consensus would be promoted this week and at the meeting to be convened by Mr Abbott".
Larissa Behrendt and Andrew Meehan summarise a year of diverse opinon's in Indigenous affairs in this article in published in the Guardian on May 8 'It's been a year of rupture in Indigenous affairs. Time to show some solidarity', highlighting that, "Assuming there is a genuine government desire to get things right, the failure to engage highlights the relative lack of political power of Aboriginal people". To read the full article follow this link.
Paul Kelly's writes in his article, 'Polarising forces threaten to derail bid for indigenous recognition' published in The Australian on May 2 that, "Plagued by vague hopes of goodwill and a failure in the public debate to identify the issues at stake, the proposal for a history-making indigenous recognition referendum faces the prospect of defeat without a political rescue mission". To read the full article, follow this link.
There has been significant coverage in the press over the last few weeks about the Constitutional Recognition campaign, where it is at in light of Noel Pearson's proposal for both constitutional reform and a Declaration of Recognition.
Mark Leibler, co-chair of the Expert Panel has written a stirring piece, asking people, "So let’s not panic. And let’s not foreclose on emerging differences of opinion. The scene is now set for mature and informed discussion to occur. If we are to get this right, we must be patient, and remain passionate. As Pearson reminds us, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been waiting a very long time already." To read Leibler's full article, published in The Australian on the 25th April, please follow this link.
Kirstie Parker, the co-chair of the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples published an article inThe Guardian newspaper, "Is Indigenous constitutional recognition salvageable? We have to hope so"
Harold Ludwick, a Bulgun Warra man, has written a piece titled, "Nothing to be afraid of in giving Aboriginal citizens constitutional rights" Published in The Age Newspaper on the 21st April. On the same day Gary Johns has written an article, published in The Australian Newspaper detailing why he doesn't support consitutitional recognition. To read John's article, follow this link.
Recognise has released a Press Statement on the 16th April, reaffirming it's positition and encouraging a high level meeting between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders and the PM and Opposition Leader. To read the full statement, follow this link.
Noel Pearson has put forward an alternative proposal, a package of constitutional and other reforms. Mr Pearson supports symbolic recognition happening outside the Constitution, in a Declaration. But this must be accompanied by practical recognition, in the Constitution – the Indigenous constitutional body is a crucial component. To read Mr Pearson's recent speech, follow this link.
Michael Gordon has written two articles, published in The Age Newspaper looking at the new proposal and how this may affect the current Recognise campaign. 'Time for Tony Abbott to sweat blood on Indigenous recognition', published on the 14th April, 2015. 'Noel Pearson calls for a national competition to recognise Indigenous Australians', published on the 14th April, 2015.
Professor Anne Twomey has also indicated her support for the new proposal in an article titled, 'Indigenous advisory body would have most impact: constitutional expert' written by Bridie Jabour, published in The Guardian Newspaper on the 16th April.
Fergal Davis' article, 'Noel Pearson's proposal could deliver real authority for Indigenous Australia' published in The Guardian. Davis concludes, "A micro-minority is unlikely to have a significant voice in a majoritarian parliament. An innovative solution to that problem is required. This proposal has the twin benefits of not disturbing the central tenet of parliamentary supremacy and simultaneously offering the prospect of meaningful reform. It has got to be part of the discussion." To read the full article published on the 14th April, follow this link.
RecVic has released a new briefing paper about the Constitutional Recognition campaign. Download it here.
The National Congress of Australia's First Peoples released a statement directed to the Joint Select Committee in February. It is a clear statement providing their concerns in regards to the current political climate and their views on what the final proposal should include. To read Congress' statement, follow this link.
Patrick Dodson's heartfelt plea to Tony Abbott: Change course on indigenous policy before it's too late'. In Michael Gordon's article, published in The Age on March 15, he quotes Dodson reflecting on the Constitutional Recognition campaign, "In fact, I tend to be a bit despairing of our capacity to change the Constitution to recognise Aboriginal people because there is far too much anger and frustration in the Aboriginal community now." To read the full article, follow this link.
ANTaR National has released a video with Aunty Pat talks about Constitutional Recognition and Sovereignty. Watch the video here.
A coalition of 117 groups including the Australian Medical Association, National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation, the Cancer Council and The Heart Foundation has signed a statement calling on Australians to support constitutional recognition. To read Anna Henderson's full article, "Indigenous health outcomes would improve with constitutional recognition, medical groups say" published on the ABC News website, follow this link. For more information on the Recognise Health Coalition please visit the Lowitja website.
"THE prospect of a racial non-discrimination clause in the Constitution is effectively dead, with a bipartisan committee set to report there is a lack of political support to include it in a referendum on indigenous recognition." In Natasha Robinson's article, 'Spectre of bill of rights kills racism clause: Ken Wyatt' published in The Australian on the 4th March, Robinson explores the complexity of the proposed s116A, her article concludes with the chairman of the Expert Panel, Patrick Dodson warning that , "growing disillusionment in the Aboriginal community, and said scrapping Section 116a could jeopardise indigenous support for a referendum." To read the full article, follow this link.
"WHAT would you do if your birth certificate was wrong? Imagine if it omitted an entire branch of your family, or your birthdate was incorrect. Surely you would want it fixed. I pose the question because Australia’s birth certificate — the Constitution — errs on both counts." To read LESTER-IRABINNA RIGNEY's full article, 'View from the shore must be part of the constitution' published in the Herald Sun on March 3, follow this link.
The Act of Recognition has been extended for 3 years, until March 2018. To read Dan Harrison's full article, 'Act of Recognition to be extended' published in The Age on the 25th Feb, follow this link.
‘POLITICAL TIMETABLES TRUMP WORKABLE TIMETABLES’: INDIGENOUS CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION AND THE TEMPTATION OF SYMBOLISM OVER SUBSTANCE' - Megan Davis' article is a must read. Davis writes, "There is a discontinuity between recognising the Indigenous polity in the Constitution and simultaneously implementing policies aimed at neutralising its distinctiveness." To read the full article, please follow this link.
"Recognition, land ‘first steps’ to reconciliation" - on the anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations Gina Rushton spoke with Phillip Harris who stated, "The path to reconciliation might be paved with good intentions but little has improved for many Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders over the past decade." To read the full article, follow this link.
"CRUCIAL bipartisanship on a move to recognise indigenous Australians in the Constitution risks being “squandered” and the momentum exhausted if a form of words and a voting date are not released this year, the Business Council of Australia says." To read Rick Morton's full article, published in The Australian on February 2, follow this link.
Larissa Behrendt's article, "Recognition for Indigenous Australians is not like the republic. We need a model to debate" published in The Guardian discusses how, 'The campaign for constitutional recognition has begun to stall in the absence of a model, and risks running out of steam from disinterest and disillusionment.' To read the full article, follow this link.
Last year's Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes "...has called on his fellow Australians to fix the “heartbreak” that comes with excluding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution, saying the nation can no longer “close its eyes” to a crucial part of its history." To read Rosie Lewis' full article, published in The Australian on the 26th January, follow this link.
On Survival Day/Invasion Day/Australia Day PM Tony Abbott reitterated his support for the Constitutional Recognition campaign. To read more about his speech, follow this link.
"Why has the journey to constitutional recognition for indigenous Australia stalled?" Dan Harrison explores the issue in his article, published in The Age on January 24. To read the full article, follow this link.
December marked an opportune time for the Federal Government to announce a timeline and proposed model to move forward the referendum. This opportunity was highlighted at the Recognise Fundraiser Gala Dinner earlier in the month, at which both the Prime Minister and Leader of the Opposition spoke. Recognise Joint Campaign Director Tanya Hosch, on the morning of the dinner called for bi-partisan leadership to take advantage of the momentum and high levels of support to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution. Read