OPPOSITION LEADER Bill Shorten has warned against waiting “too long” to change the constitution to acknowledge indigenous Australians — and said any reform should be “substantive” and not tokenistic.
“I believe that the sooner our constitution gives just recognition to our First Australians, the better,” he told The Australian.
OK Bill but what does that mean? will such changes have any practical effects in the lives of any Australian?
“It is a historical wrong that must be made right. But it must be more than a token gesture — it must be substantive change”.
“Bipartisanship is critical for any referendum proposal to succeed. I’m prepared to work with the Prime Minister on this to make sure there is a political consensus on the timing and the content”.
If I’m not mistaken the “historical wrong” Shorten is referring to is the Establishment of the British colonies , firstly in NSW and later elsewhere, well personally I just can’t see such events in the sort of negative light that Shorten shines here.
Coalition indigenous MP, Ken Wyatt, who is leading the process, has been more cautious, saying any vote should only be held when “Australia is ready.”
Mr Wyatt, the chair of the cross party constitution committee, said: “We shouldn’t go too early but we shouldn’t go too late either and run the risk of missing the opportunity.
Err OK Ken but until we see the words no one will have the slightest notion of the virtue of what is proposed now will they?
Mr Wyatt’s committee is currently consulting on the wording to be taken to a referendum.
“The Committee is considering presenting a progress report in December and is not required to present its final report until 30 June 2015,” he said.
So does that mean that we are going to get nearly another year of these endless empty gestures trying to soften up the public for an as yet unenunciated change to the constitution?
Aboriginal Commissioner Mick Gooda has called for the referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians to be held next year.
Delivering the annual Nulungu Reconciliation Lecture in Broome, Mr Gooda challenged the Prime Minister to hold a referendum before the next federal election and avoid endless rounds of consultation on the issue.
How typically undemocratic a notion from a minion of the left.
Joint Campaign Director of the Recognise campaign Tim Gartrell praised Mr Gooda’s “excellent contribution to the debate”.
“We’ve always said we shouldn’t wait a day longer than is necessary to make these important changes to the constitution,” he said. “This also means all the preconditions need to be in place. The momentum needed for success is growing every day. There are now more than 215,000 supporters who have joined Recognise.
215,000 supporters is notthat significant when you consider that we are a nation of more than 20Million people, in fact I would suggest that 215,000 supporters is barely even all of the “usual suspects”
Labor’s first indigenous senator -Nova Peris does not back Aboriginal Commissioner Mick Gooda’s call for the referendum to acknowledge indigenous Australians to be held next year, arguing it is better to take longer than get it wrong.
Senator Peris, who is the deputy chairwoman of the committee looking at options for recognition, said rushing the issue would be devastating.
“It’s imperative we do the work required to ensure this succeeds,” he said. “To risk failure in an attempt to simply rush the procedure would be devastating.”
Well for once I agree with a Labor person about something! That said unless we have a very clear enunciation of just what words are to be added to the constitution and what the possible effect of that change could be then I for one will be campaigning against there being ANY change simply because those advancing the yes case are already being deceptive. You see I am old fashioned enough to think that there should be no laws on our statute books that privileges any individual on the basis of their race or ethnicity, or what they claim is their race or ethnicity. We live in the here and now, in a contemporary Australia whose laws apply equally to all with a blindness to race gender or ethnicity. Its not a perfect blindness to those distinctions but its close enough to sing its praises and we should resist any move that makes the law notice the colour of a man’s skin, the faith in his heart or even if he is a man. So many on all sides of politics espouse notions of equality and I think that if we the public are being asked to agree with the proposition that some Australians are going to be considered “more equal” than the rest of us that we should just vote NO!