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The Forum > Article Comments > Say 'No' to 'Recognise' > Comments

Say 'No' to 'Recognise' : Comments

By Syd Hickman, published 6/3/2015

To try and cast three per-cent of the Australian people as 'ATSI' people, separate from the rest of us and needing public campaigning to make them feel better, is appalling.

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I'm glad Mr Hyckman mentioned Indigenous education: in the first-half-year figures for 2014, Indigenous commencements rose a fairly healthy six per cent, but the number of continuations - a key factor in future graduation numbers - rose a whopping twelve per cent. My guess is that those continuation numbers were overwhelmingly in degree-level and post-graduate courses.

Total Indigenous university graduate numbers are now between thirty six, and forty, thousand. Fifty thousand graduates by 2020 is very likely, and so is one hundred thousand by the early 2030s. That's less than twenty years away.

The current number of Indigenous university graduates represents about one in eight or nine Indigenous adults. Two-thirds are women. So what impact might that be having on Indigenous society, and, with a fifth of each young age-group now graduating from university, what impact might all that have in the next ten or twenty years ?

How has this come about ? After all, in 1991, there were fewer than four thousand Indigenous university graduates. I would suggest that inter-marriage of working people, a generation and two generations ago, has transformed the situation. As Mr Hyckman suggests, yes, this does mean that 'Indigenous' youth are far more ethnically diverse than fifty years ago, and will be much more so in the next generation.

I've been keeping a database on Indigenous higher education for twenty years. Not one hotshot Indigenous 'leader' has ever got in touch with me about it, although I've been sending it around, up-dated every year in July (on my web-site: Do they even believe it is possible ? Do they WANT it to be possible ? After all, a tiny elite gathers all the fruits to itself, but an 'elite' of forty thousand makes that task much harder. Or is it that they are so gormless, so self-absorbed, that they don't even notice ? The bottom line is that those young people are doing it without them, and owe them nothing.

So who should recognise what ? Indigenous 'leaders' should recognise what their own people are achieving ? I'd like to see that.

Posted by Loudmouth, Friday, 6 March 2015 7:57:46 AM
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The Constitution is the most important document we have in this country. How can we make reference to race, any race, without a fool proof, watertight definition of that race? As things stand, anyone with the slightest hint of aboriginal blood qualifies as " aboriginal" for legal purposes. What happens in 50/100 years time when a citizen is 6 or 7 generations removed from an aboriginal ancestor? How are they classed as anything but Australian? Any proposed changes to the Constitution needs an infallible method of identifying who can claim aborignality.
Beyond that issue, I don't see how any constitutional change will change a single practical aspect of life for aboriginal people. A large proportion don't even know what it is, let alone its contents.
Inclusion in this document is not going to encourage people to improve their hygiene levels, or take their children to school, or motivate them to improve their environment so they feel energised and wanting to work.
It's an intangible, feel good gesture by people with no hands on experience in the field, looking for easy answers to incredibly complex problems.
Posted by Big Nana, Friday, 6 March 2015 8:50:52 AM
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Section 25 of the Constitution does not “give… States the right to ban people from voting on the basis of their race”. Section 25 combined with section 24, punishes any state that stops people voting on racial grounds by reducing that state’s number of seats in the House of Representatives in proportion to the number of people excluded from voting. The removal of section 25 would not take away the capacity of states to enact racially discriminatory voting provisions, but it would remove the punishment they would face for doing so.

The myths around the Constitution and Aborigines are many in number.

The 1967 referendum did not give Aborigines the right to vote, something they had in the nineteenth century in Victoria and South Australia and which they kept in those states continuously at the state level and continuously at the federal level if they had voted in 1901. Federal voting rights were purportedly taken off Aborigines after the first federal election but the High Court ruled that it was unconstitutional to remove the right to vote from anyone who had held it in 1901, so Victorian and SA Aborigines who had voted then continued to vote in federal elections, but new Aboriginal voters could not enrol. The right to vote in federal elections was extended to all Aborigines in 1962, five years before the referendum.

The 1967 referendum did not overturn the ban on Aborigines being counted in the census because there has never been any such ban. Aborigines were counted in every Commonwealth census, since the first one in 1911 recorded 19,939 of them.

This myth about the census has arisen because prior to 1967 Aborigines were not counted for the purpose of allocating seats in the House of Representatives.

Nor did the 1967 referendum make Aborigines citizens, something they had been since 1949 when all Australians, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, became citizens, as opposed to British subjects that they had been previously. There was no referendum on this topic. It was simple legislation by the Chifley Labor government.
Posted by Chris C, Friday, 6 March 2015 9:10:26 AM
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Big Nana, I am glad that it is you you has brought up the subject of "who can legally claim aboriginal identity". If I had done it, I would have been accused of being racist. It is a very important question and should be addressed before it gets further out of hand. If you look at the increasing numbers of aboriginals as counted in the Australian census, by extrapolation, most Australians will be claiming aboriginality by the end of the century.

Joe, your figures may be technically correct, but the above comments also apply. This is not to denigrate those who are successful'

Posted by VK3AUU, Friday, 6 March 2015 9:46:56 AM
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I think a long overdue and "POLITICALLY" resisted bill of irrevocable rights would do more for downtrodden people wherever they hail from; than changing a constitution none of us have read, and if we have don't understand it.

How can any ordinary person recognize anything in such a complex and wordy document?

Our first task surely before engaging in the merits of revising and or editing it/ruling parts in/ruling parts out, is to rewrite it in standard english, that the ordinary bloke on the street can read and understand.

And before we revise anything, surely there ought to be a discussion on the actual merits of change and whether they'd be better off if we just had a bill of rights that limited some authorities power, but particularly where it is currently and routinely abused, or subject to endless overreach?

As for aboriginality?

There is a definitive genetic test that can prove or disprove that; and no amount of feeling your supposed so called aboriginality; or roots, ought to be able to change that or open a door to special funding; or that reserved for genuinely disadvantaged ATIS.

Moreover, there are a number of precedents that allow racial claims to exhaust beyond a very generous 25%!

Even where it includes blue eyed honey blondes with milky white skin, like one of the Aunties.

It's not just racism we need to "recognize", but reverse racism/gender exclusiveness as well!

And how about we recognize Tasmanian aborigines as the very first of the first Australians, with the greatest decimation at the hands of other later indigenous arrivals; rather than the white settlers, who almost completed the job?

And should being first mean you are the only ones that have any legitimate claim to any land?

Or should those claims just exhaust after three generations of forced or self imposed exile?

Certainly an argument for new Israeli settlers, so why not here?
Posted by Rhrosty, Friday, 6 March 2015 11:40:20 AM
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Such naivety on behalf of the author - does he truly believe that even in the case of war, government would follow the letter of the constitution?

As usual, those who have power will do whatever they want and those who have not will be left to sigh and die - the constitution is but a fig-leaf, not worth the paper it's written on.

(sorry, Rhrosty, same for your "bill of irrevocable rights" - just because a constitution will say they "cannot" be revoked doesn't mean that indeed they won't)
Posted by Yuyutsu, Friday, 6 March 2015 12:44:47 PM
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