Removing racism from Australia’s Constitutional DNA
The idea of a referendum on recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution was put on the national political agenda in the aftermath of the August 2010 federal election. This occurred without any announcement of what form the change would take. In effect, it was a commitment by the minority Gillard government to a referendum at or before the next federal election without a specific proposal for change.1 This poses a major challenge. Although Indigenous peoples have long sought recognition in Australia’s national and state Constitutions, common ground has not yet emerged on how this should be achieved. Hence, the task is not simply one of convincing Australians to vote Yes, but of determining what the amendment should be in the first place.