#990 for broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 2 Nov 2014.
The parliamentary committee on constitutional recognition of Australia’s first people has released its report on the way forward, saying the vote should be “at or shortly after the next federal election in 2016.”
The churches have a role to play. As federal Opposition Spokesperson on Indigenous Affairs, Shayne Neumann, said in a speech to the Australian Christian Lobby conference last weekend, “the church’s role in Indigenous reconciliation did not end [with the historic referendum] in 1967.”
He said churches should be compelled by their faith to promote reconciliation between Indigenous people and other Australians. Christians “should be at the vanguard of constitutional change as advocates for reconciliation.”
The devil is in the detail, and a compelling case for constitutional change might not be put that will convince enough Australians it is the right thing to do.
But we have much to gain and nothing to lose from formally recognising Australia’s first people in the Commonwealth constitution.
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.