Nuts and Bolts of constitutional change
by Barbara Miller 14 April 2014
orman Miller, Chairperson of the Centre for International Reconciliation and Peace Inc., said columnist Andrew Bolt appears to have started a ‘no’ campaign to constitutional change re the recognition of Indigenous people. Miller was commenting on Bolt’s attack on Australian of the Year, Adam Goodes, who is Aboriginal, in the article “No Goodes will come of change” (Cairns Post 9/4/14). Bolt objected to remarks by Goodes about Australia’s past history of treating Indigenous people by saying: “Our past was never so
vicious.” “Bolt needs a history lesson” said Miller. “Making Goodes Australian of the Year was meant to be a unifying factor in our history, not an opportunity to bring further division which is what Bolt’s article does.” “Bolt says he wants to remove racism but one must wonder if he is trying to promote it instead” said Miller. Miller said “Bolt’s statement ‘Say no to racism. Say no to racial division. Say no to this change in our constitution’ follows a misrepresentation of the campaign of Recognize of which Goodes has become a public face and the recommendations of the Expert
Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.” “I have been campaigning for a ‘yes’ vote on constitutional change to recognize Indigenous Australians and to remove racism from the constitution. I have also been educating the public and encouraging the government to raise public awareness of the issues prior to holding the referendum” said Miller. “It is important for the public to have input into what the wording is that will be put to the Australian people in the upcoming referendum and that it is held in the right timing when awareness of the issues is high.” Miller said he presented a petition with over 2,000 signatures
to the House of Representatives which was tabled in Parliament and Hansard on 12 December 2013, the last sitting day of Parliament for the year. It was based on the recommendations of the Expert Panel. Prior to this, Miller and his wife spent a week campaigning in federal parliament, handing over a giant boomerang painted by Miller, also an Aboriginal artist, to Speaker of the House, Bronwyn Bishop on 21 November. It read “No Racism in the Constitution” and had about 360 signatures on it. Miller said he plans to continue his campaign aiming for 10,000 signatures, most of which he will gather personally but people can also go onto a website to sign the petition – www.barbara-millerbooks.com/boomerang-petition. He will be campaigning on the theme “Australians Making History”. Miller said “Bolt is incorrect when he says ‘the Constitution has never been used to stop Aborigines voting’. This is one of the many issues covered in “William Cooper: Gentle Warrior” by Barbara Miller about one of our early Aboriginal campaigners for the ‘uplift’ of his people as he called it. She records that all Australians, including Aborigines were British citizens prior to Australia becoming a nation. It was the passing of the Commonwealth Franchise Act 1902 and the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 which meant that Indigenous people were not included as citizens of Australia and could not vote. Aborigines were stripped of their rights at the point of nationhood. The right to vote for
Indigenous people came in 1962 for all states except Queensland where it was granted in 1965. This was prior to the 1967 referendum which changed the constitution to give Indigenous people the right to be counted in the census as people rather than flora and fauna.” “He wants to bolt us into past discriminatory practices and misrepresent the nuts and bolts
of the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians” said Miller. “Aboriginal people say when you throw a boomerang, it will return but we never want to see a return to policies of discrimination” said Miller. “Yes we Cairns, Australia. Australians Making History.”
National NAIDOC Poster Competition and nominations for the National NAIDOC Awards are now open. Forms are available online at www.naidoc.org.au or at your nearest Indigenous Coordination Centre. Poster competition entries close Friday 28 March. Award nominations close Wednesday 23 April.
Published on Apr 13, 2014
Published on Apr 13, 2014
by Barbara Miller 14 April 2014 Norman Miller, Chairperson of the Centre for International Reconciliation and Peace Inc., said columnist And...