Constitutional recognition is about all our identities
Self-identity - who you are, what your values are and what you believe - is critical to success in any society, whether it is cultural, sporting, professional or political.
Without a firm understanding of who you are, it is very difficult to present a point of view or know where you stand on a particular topic.
Not knowing or recognising your cultural heritage will suppress your purpose throughout life.
Currently in Australia we have this exact issue - a great place but not a country that truly represents or understands its true heritage.
Yesterday, when our Prime Minister announced the start of a national discussion to recognise Indigenous people in the Australian constitution, I felt a sense of relief that as a nation we are finally working towards our true identity.
Prior to the 1967 referendum, Aboriginal people did not exist as citizens within our own country. My Dad, born in 1945, wasn’t recognised as citizen of his own birthplace.
The 1967 referendum was passed with an historic majority, with over 90% of Australians voting “Yes” to count Aboriginal people among the Australian population.
It also represented to the world that the Australian population wanted to right the wrongs of past political decisions.
Beyond that, the referendum had two main outcomes: the first was to alter the legal boundaries within which the Federal Government could act. It was given a constitutional head-of-power under which it could make special laws for the benefit of Aborigines (although some argue that certain laws have been detrimental).
The other key outcome of the referendum was to provide Aborigines with a symbol of their political and moral rights.
However, taking the next step to turn this symbolism into something real is certainly overdue.
Now is the time for Australia to take action and to formally recognise the original custodians of this great country, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, as the First Australians.
It is time to ensure that our current and future generations not only feel part of Australia’s culture but are secure in the knowledge that their Government recognises our first people as well.
I have worked hard to ensure my children know who they are and where they are from, and Constitutional recognition of the First Australians will give all our children the same presence and purpose.
This Referendum offers all Australians a chance to acknowledge who they are and assert their rightful cultural identity.
Read all about it
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