Let us for a moment go back to Frew’s original post here.
The crux of which is:
There has been an indigenous summit held in Uluru over the last week. Aboriginal leaders rejected the Constitutional recognition campaign in favour of a representative body and a Treaty
I propose that we should […]have a position that we support the formation of a national indigenous body and will work in good faith to address any proposals that come out of it.
I would like for Australia to have a Treaty with the first inhabitants, but we should see what they decide they want first.
This is an entirely fair and reasonable course of action.
I recall the discussion that arose over a year or more ago within the Policy Development Committee when deciding we needed something that addresses indigenous policy. I know, that for me personally, i was very uncomfortable trying to come up with a policy stance for the party in a a bit of a vacuum, in that the PDC’s membership was devoid of indigenous people. So at the time, along with attempting outreach and attaining input from indigenous organisations, groups, people & members, we tried to draft a policy that drew upon what we could derive as coming from what we perceived as best reflecting the consensus of Aboriginal peoples wishes in the matter, at the time.
That consensus within the Aboriginal community has now changed, and therefore, so should our policy.
Internally there was the recognition that our original policy of supporting constitutional recognition was largely cosmetic and would not really address the fundamental structural changes needed to affect real change and therefore address the problems that beset indigenous people, politics and power relations in this country. However, again, it was a policy that, as best we could determine, reflected the wishes of the indigenous population, and despite wanting to say “hey, we think this would be better…” it was decided that such “better” ideas, at least in our policy docs, for now, would best come from indigenous people. Well, now it has.
The discussion has now moved on. And in a good way that appears to address the very concerns many of us ourselves had with the original policy. And so a fairly unified statement of desire from the Aboriginal community appears to have arrived. To not refine our policy in a way that is heavily influenced by this historical statement, seems to me to be risk repeating the historical mistakes all too many people have made in the past in regard to indigenous matters and despite ‘best intentions’ would in reality just be a repetition of patronising, paternalistic policies of “we know what’s best for you”. This very thing appears to me to be exactly the type of policy making that aboriginal people want to break away from. They want a voice and they want to be able to determine what is best for themselves. That to me seems not only a very valid human principle, but also a very piratey one.
I have a whole lot of other arguments to the various points raised in this thread, and i can come back to all that if necessary.
But before spend anymore walls of text doing so, i implore everyone reading this thread (especially those who are opposed to changing our policy to better reflect the desires of this country’s first inhabitants) to please watch the most recent Q&A episode. The very well put arguments from the people themselves driving these issues say anything better than i can myself.
And additionally, if you haven’t already, please read the full "Uluru Statement from the Heart" document
It can be found here in pdf format: https://www.referendumcouncil.org.au/sites/default/files/2017-05/Uluru_Statement_From_The_Heart_0.PDF
But for ease, i will paste the whole thing below. I think that it quite frankly speaks for itself.
ULURU STATEMENT FROM THE HEART
We, gathered at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, coming from all points of the
southern sky, make this statement from the heart:
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander tribes were the first sovereign Nations of the
Australian continent and its adjacent islands, and possessed it under our own laws and customs.
This our ancestors did, according to the reckoning of our culture, from the Creation, according
to the common law from ‘time immemorial’, and according to science more than 60,000 years
This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’,
and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain
attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is
the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or
extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.
How could it be otherwise? That peoples possessed a land for sixty millennia and this sacred
link disappears from world history in merely the last two hundred years?
With substantive constitutional change and structural reform, we believe this ancient
sovereignty can shine through as a fuller expression of Australia’s nationhood.
Proportionally, we are the most incarcerated people on the planet. We are not an innately
criminal people. Our children are aliened from their families at unprecedented rates. This
cannot be because we have no love for them. And our youth languish in detention in obscene
numbers. They should be our hope for the future.
These dimensions of our crisis tell plainly the structural nature of our problem. This is the
torment of our powerlessness.
We seek constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own
country. When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in
two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.
We call for the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.
Makarrata is the culmination of our agenda: the coming together after a struggle. It captures
our aspirations for a fair and truthful relationship with the people of Australia and a better
future for our children based on justice and self-determination.
We seek a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between
governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.
In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard. We leave base camp and start our trek
across this vast country. We invite you to walk with us in a movement of the Australian people
for a better future.