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The Forum > General Discussion > Proposals for the Recognition Referendum

Proposals for the Recognition Referendum

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Time is running out to hold a Referendum on Indigenous recognition by May 27 next year, fifteen months away. Clearly, is it up to Indigenous people themselves to decide in the spirit of 'self-determination' what should be put to the whole of Australia. Recent reports suggest that any constitutional recognition will simply not cut it: Indigenous people want far more than that.

Noel Pearson has proposed a sort of third House of Parliament, made up of selected Indigenous leaders and elders, to review all legislation for its effects on Indigenous people. Clearly that should be an option on the voting paper.

Many others are demanding the recognition of 'nations': by this, they seem to mean larger groupings than clans, which were traditionally the land-holding groups:. Traditionally, a number of clans were allied into dialect groups, and those dialect groups were loosely organised into one language group, or tribe. Sometimes clans and dialect groups have been mis-titled as 'tribes' in the past.

Others are asking for a treaty between Indigenous groups and an Australian government. Presumably this means an agreement with the designated leaders of either

(a) the entire Indigenous people as a whole; or

(b) individual tribes; or

(c) individual clans.

Others are suggesting that all of Australia should be recognised as belonging to Indigenous people only, and that Indigenous sovereignty over all of Australia be recognised. Presumably, this would involve an agreement between the Australian government and an Indigenous Provisional Government.

Forty-odd meetings are to be held around Australia for Indigenous people to clarify and articulate what they want in the coming Referendum. So this is how it might turn out on the ballot paper:

1. No change.

2. Mention of Indigenous people in the Preamble to the Constitution.

3. A strong clause of recognition of Indigenous people's culture etc.

4. A body of Indigenous Leaders and Elders.

5. Recognition of all Indigenous nations.

6. A treaty between Indigenous Australians and other Australians.

7. Recognition of Indigenous sovereignty over all of Australia.

How will you vote ?
Posted by Loudmouth, Wednesday, 17 February 2016 5:28:31 PM
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This is a really great idea we should suggest it to the countries of Europe! Then the people that were there "First" own all the land and the recent arrivals don't. With all the other stuff but wait, would that be racist?
Posted by JBowyer, Thursday, 18 February 2016 8:49:46 AM
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My proposal for the Referendum is to vote NO. The whole idea of 'recognition' epitomises the guilt-ridden weakness of the current crop of white, PC grovellers who would rather insult their forefathers who brought this continent out of the Stone Age, than upset a few no-hopers in the aboriginal industry.
Posted by ttbn, Thursday, 18 February 2016 9:25:01 AM
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The two paranoid response totally miss the point that recognition in the constitution will in effect put a line under the past. We recognise you once owned all the land, but that's it, you recognise you'll never get it all back. You could consider it a sop to shut Aborigines up. OK we've recognised you, get over it.

My choice would be a formal Treaty, as in New Zealand, Canada etc. And before I get jumped on, I realise it's not the 'solution' - there is no 'solution', just an on-going process. Do we need a referendum to develop a treaty? I don't think so, it could be done in a bi-partisan manner.

The Treaty would address a lot of the issues, outside the emotional issue of changing the constitution. Later, the Constitution could be amended to say something like 'The Uluru Treaty of 2020' is recognised as the basis of Australia's rapproachment between its first peoples and subsequent arrivals.'
Posted by Cossomby, Thursday, 18 February 2016 11:23:45 AM
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Loudmouth, I would vote for recognition of the Indigenous peoples as a whole, but not for a separate Indigenous parliament as such. Can you imagine what a mess it would be if they had representatives from all Aboriginal groups in Australia?
The fights and arguments about who will represent every tribe, clan, area, group etc would be never-ending.

From what I have experienced, many of these people don't work too well with many of the other groups, due to historical and current differences. It seems to me that whoever the Indigenous elder or representative in Parliament has been in the past has always been derided as not being of the same 'family' and therefore not representing many of the Indigenous people at all.

As an example, our Community health nurses were the only ones allowed into several of our local Indigenous communities because they said they would prefer us 'whitey sisters' to the Aboriginal Medical service staff who apparently had too many members of rival families working there!

Ttbn, you and the other anti-multicultural tragics that haunt this forum can't really expect to be taken seriously on this subject by saying we can't have 'foreigners' here dictating how we live our lives (eg Muslims) when you can't see yourselves as foreigners to the Indigenous people.

Unless we recognise our first Australians as the original custodians of this land, and give them more say in our future direction, we are denying Australia's history.
Posted by Suseonline, Thursday, 18 February 2016 11:24:23 AM
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No one can really explain the purpose of the change to the constitution. Everyone knows that the Indigeneous were here before the British. Why not recognise the English, the Italian, the Greeks, the Philipinos or are we going to enhance the apartheid attitude of the aboriginal industry.
Posted by runner, Thursday, 18 February 2016 12:02:22 PM
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