The First Australians are ENTITLED to a Treaty.
Constitutional recognition will end up as, at best, a symbolic move and, in all probability, will actually diminish the status of the First Australians and weaken or negate their legitimate claim that they are the rightful owners of this land.
So, the people who “owned” it ALL [and I recognise that such was not the same concept as the ownership that non-aboriginal people have] now “own” 15% of the land mass. That does not mean that the land question is resolved. Far from it. That is not what the notion of land settlement is about and that ubiquitous lack of understanding of non-aboriginal Australians is a major barrier that has been reinforced by Australian governments and various pieces of legislation.
The “general population” need to wake up and realise that this land was stolen from the First Australians and that they have been treated abominably ever since.
Is this, “Over-reach”? I don’t think so, and of course it matters what they want, that’s exactly the point.
Aboriginal culture and “Australian” culture are two different entities with two differing heritages. Currently, the culture of the First Australians is largely disregarded and even abused by such government moves as the “Intervention”. Non-aboriginal Australians continue to be the ones who decide what is to happen to the traditional owners of this land or, as the ignorant tend to put it, “what is to be done about the aboriginal problem.”
That lack of understanding and selfish disregard or supercilious dismissal of the views of Aborigines is precisely why allocated seats are required in our parliament.
Yes, we need to become one nation [but in no way of the type that Pauline Hanson envisages]. We need to find ways to cross the cultural divides and fit two cultures together in a way that respects and strengthens the whole. No, I don’t profess to have all the answers. I certainly admit that this won’t be easy, particularly for as long as we are ruled by conservative governments and controlled by neo-liberal materialism and the wealthy.
However, if those who genuinely wish to see a free and fair Australia that fulfils the rhetoric of being a successful multi-cultural nation with governments that govern for ALL the people, then we need to make the effort to confront this home-grown tragedy that continues to dishonour all of us, demean the nation, and continue the disparity in living standards, status and opportunity for Aborigines.
The repulsive dismissal of what is THE major problem in our nations needs to be resolved once and for all. It can be resolved. All it needs is the right spirit and willingness to do it. However, it will take honesty and acknowledgement of the realities, as well as an initial determination – by the aboriginal people – of what they want. Determining that aim is crucial to this process and it cannot be done by non-Aborigines.
Once an aim is determined, then we have more than enough intellect, resources and capacity to bring it about. Whether we genuinely want to do so is the prime question.
Delegates at Referendum Council meeting argue the recognition campaign is a waste of resources and a treaty would deliver real, tangible benefits