Seek indigenous views ahead of full referendum (The Australian)

29 Jan Seek indigenous views ahead of full referendum (The Australian)

THIS week I put forward two ideas for the constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians.

The first was obvious: that any successful proposition will need to be supportable by persons such as indigenous Australian elder Lowitja O’Donoghue and former prime minister John Howard. When asked by The Australian whether she could find common ground with Howard, O’Donoghue responded: “Why not? Yes we could.”

If the country succeeds with reconciliation it will be because of the wisdom and maturity of the nation’s elders.

My second idea was that if the expert panel appointed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard develops a proposal, it should first be subjected to a vote by indigenous Australians before a law for the alteration of the Constitution is proposed to parliament.

The Australian reported that O’Donoghue was not convinced about the idea, saying she was concerned it would cause division in the mainstream community.

Similarly, the new member of parliament Ken Wyatt, an indigenous Australian, has expressed strong opposition to my proposal. …Go to article