Federal

Jan 9, 2013

Aboriginal leaders must inspire the nation to recognise

The campaign to have Aboriginal Australians recognised in the constitution has stalled. Leaders must tap into the culture to inspire a nation to say "yes", says former ministerial adviser Rita Markwell.

With Australians unlikely to vote on any constitutional change to recognise Australia’s first peoples until at least 2015, campaigners need to take greater control of the issue and its destiny.

5 comments

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5 thoughts on “Aboriginal leaders must inspire the nation to recognise

  1. Mark Errey

    Somewhat interesting article which was let down by a very poor exposition of why anyone should vote for aboriginal recognition in the constitution, or why anyone would spend political capital advocating for it. Yes it is evident to all that aboriginal and torres strait islander people were here first, but what is case that will make Joe public see the benefit of recognising that fact in the constitution? In my view the article failed altogether in that respect, but that is not surprising. The push to get the issue to a referendum at the next election has foundered on this very point, “why do it”?

  2. armstrong burroughs

    What about WHITE leaders get a bit inspired, get a bit fair dinkum?

  3. Christopher Nagle

    Since 1967, indigenous society has used up at least some of the goodwill and social capital that was then at their disposal. The Little Children Are Sacred Report made very grim reading.

    There is only so much that anyone can blame poverty and disadvantage as a coverall excuse for a systematic failure to engage modern society and make on it as modern citizens in a multi-cultural society.

    I think all this history and constitutional stuff is a bit of an ideological diversion from the main game, which is the need for much of aboriginal society to engage modern education as a game changer, and to escape the drag of culturally transmitted inter-generational failure to be represented across the modern society and economy.

    If our newcomers, some fleeing from terrible circumstances, can manage to climb on board, many with very little or no English to start with, what is the matter with our indigenous brothers and sisters?

  4. Rita Markwell

    Just as a response to Armstrong Burrough’s point: The headline chosen by Crikey might have given a different impression but my piece relates to the challenges faced by all campaigners, not just Aboriginal leadership.Thanks for giving me a chance to clarify.

  5. minnamurra

    This constitutional campaign is a very good example of how uninspired and directionless policy development is in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) affairs today. This whole idea of recognition by white Australia means very little to us, what can it possibly accomplish? Will it lead to some systematic attempt to relieve the impact of poverty and homelessness on ATSI men, women and children? Previous comments about “Why do it?” are spot on and ATSI people are just as confused and wondering about this as anyone else.

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