What is Constitutional Recognition? – Behind the News Explains

What is Constitutional Recognition? – Behind the News Explains

constitutional recognition it’s
something a lot of indigenous people in Australia have been campaigning for,
for a really long time. But what exactly is it and why is it such a big
deal. Let’s start with that first word: Constitutional this is Australia’s Constitution. No, I’m just kidding it’s not that big. It’s more like this. It’s
kind of like our nations rule book It sets out how laws are made and enforced although ours is not as popular or as famous as the one they’ve got over in
the United States which they like to talk about all of the time You think the language in the second amendment is clear enough? you know, about the right to
bear arms of course it’s clear every American has the right to hang a pair of
bear arms on their wall how could that possibly be misconstrued in fact most
Aussies don’t even know what’s in our constitution or that it even exists I mean I don’t really blame them the Australian Constitution was written more
than a century ago although it was the first time in the world a country’s
constitution was decided by a vote which is pretty cool if you’re into that sort
of thing however when it was written Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people weren’t mentioned at all despite the fact that they’d been living here
for more than 50,000 years and that’s something that hasn’t sat right with a
lot of people for a long time so now that we know about that first word
let’s find out about the second one recognition and we probably don’t need
this anymore Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people want to be recognised in the Constitution as Australia’s first
peoples it’s something a lot of people agree with and it’s been put forward a
number of times by PM’s in the past organisations like Reconciliation
Australia reckon widespread acceptance of our nation’s history is an important
step towards making sure we don’t repeat the wrongs of the past not everyone’s on board with the idea though some people don’t like changing the Constitution at all others reckon it’ll cost way too much money and
some reckon that it won’t change the past or the lives of indigenous Aussies
today that last point is actually an argument that’s being used by some
people on both sides of the debate many people who support constitutional
recognition also want to add a new part to the Constitution that would make a
special group in federal parliament to give indigenous people a louder voice in
their future this group would advise the government on any laws or policies that
affect indigenous people The Liberal Party’s minister for Indigenous Affairs, Ken
Wyatt, is one of the people pushing for that change right now back in 2017 a survey showed that most Aussies support this idea but the specifics of how much power that group would have is a bit more controversial this idea was dismissed by our previous PM Malcolm Turnbull the last time it was brought up there were worries that the group would become too powerful and be seen as a
third chamber of parliament but Mr Wyatt has rubbished that idea and says it’s misleading similar Indigenous advisory groups have been set up in the past but supporters of this new change say those groups hadn’t received the
support that they needed and that by adding this new group to the
Constitution it would guarantee an Indigenous voices is present and can’t easily be cast aside so how would we actually go about changing the
constitution to add these new sections in it’s not as easy as changing
shirts wait, this is too much that’s better you have to have a referendum that’s a big and expensive national vote that can cost millions and millions of
dollars to get changed passed more than half of the Australian population and
more than half of the states and territories have to vote yes to the
changes which is a lot harder than it sounds the majority of referendums we’ve had have failed in fact, only 8 out of 44
have been successful former Aussie PM Sir Robert Menzies
said passing a referendum was as tough as one of the labors of Hercules which is probably a bit overdramatic from Bob I mean, I’d much rather campaign for a
yes vote than fight a giant lion-monster That doesn’t mean a referendum for constitutional change will fail The most successful referendum of all time was actually to do with Indigenous Australians as well the 1967 vote which among other things was about making sure Indigenous
Australians were counted in the census it scored an impressive 90 percent yes
vote right now pollies are saying it will probably go to vote in the next
three years so we’ll just have to wait and see


  1. I think it would be best if the indigenous people where just encourage to peruse politics, currently it's a very white field (for obvious reasons). Campaigning for or encouraging indigenous peoples to peruse a role in either house would be far more beneficial and democratic. It would cost less and mean that the people's of Australia get a voice.

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