The media loves Aboriginal reconciliation. It’s an opportunity for upbeat, feel-good stories: everyone wants to believe that we can all be one big happy national family. White Australia can atone for its past misdeeds, while indigenous Australia can forgive in return for acceptance.
The narrative is especially compelling when it centres on a politician like Tony Abbott, whose background casts him (perhaps unfairly) as an opponent of reconciliation and indigenous rights. When he says — as he did on Sunday — that constitutional recognition of indigenous people is “a very important national crusade” that “won’t be changing our constitution so much as completing it”, it has all the appeal of a conversion story.