Discussion paper response

James Stuart Smith
What is your full name?
James Stuart Smith
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Do you support recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by changing the Constitution or making some other kind of legal change?
What should the change look like?
The change should be embodied in the constitution as this would then apply to the whole Commonwealth and would not be (as) vulnerable to the ebb and flow of populist opinion in the individual Commonwealth entities.
Should we have a statement that acknowledges the First Peoples of Australia?
Yes. This should be in the Constitution.
Where is the best place to put it?
It needs to be in the Constitution, for the reasons stated above. It also needs to be in a position of some prominence, such as in a preamble to the Constitution.
What should the statement say?
The wording will need to have been extensively worked, with consultation with the First Peoples, Referendum Council, constitutional experts and leading politicians. But some principles are important. There needs to be recognition that aboriginal peoples i
Do you have any other comments on a statement about the First Peoples of Australia?
There might also be a need to refer to long-standing practices of discrimination, racial and social prejudice, leading to long-standing disadvantage and inequality of rights.
Should the word 'race' be taken out of the Constitution?
Should the Australian Parliament keep the power to make special laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?
Do you have any ideas on what new words could be used to describe that power, or where in the Constitution to put the power?
As suggested in the discussion paper, Section 51 needs to be amended to remove the reference to race. A mechanism needs to be introduced to enable law-making relating to Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander issues. There needs to be specific provision t
Do you have any other comments on powers to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?
Such powers are necessary to enable Commonwealth protection of Traditional Owners Lands and culture; to protect sacred sites, customs and practices. In addition, provision is likely to be required for specific measures which help to repair, and perhaps pr
Do you think that a guarantee against racial discrimination should go into the Constitution?
Do you have any ideas about what words to use for that guarantee, or where in the Constitution to put it?
As noted above, there is a need to make provision for legislation relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. There also, therefore, needs to be protection against such laws having discriminatory and disadvantageous effects. Because of the
Should the guarantee protect all Australians against racial discrimination, or only Indigenous Australians?
All Australians
If there is not enough support for a guarantee in the Constitution, what other things can we do to stop racial discrimination in national laws?
Active, evidence-based monitoring and reporting of racial abuse, discrimination etc. But reliance on the States seems unlikely to lead to an effective legiskative regime.
Do you have any other comments on changing the Constitution to stop racial discrimination?
I do not believe it is advisable to rely on the individual States. Such an approach would be likely to deliver a very incoherent outcome.
Do you think Indigenous people should have a say when Parliament and government make laws and policies about Indigenous affairs?
Should a new Indigenous group be set up under the Constitution to give advice and make sure Indigenous people have a voice in political decisions that affect them?
Is it worth creating the new group if it can only give advice and does not have the power to block new laws?
Do you have any ideas about what the new group would look like?
I think there would need to be broad representation, and that a principles-based approach would be needed.
Do you have any other comments on this Indigenous group?
As a non-indigenous person, I do not believe it appropriate to be prescriptive. But if agreement can be reached on key principles such as the need for respect; for recognition; for continuing programs to repair past wrongs; and on the key areas where chan
Should we delete section 25?
What would we achieve by getting rid of section 25?
Equality of political participation for all Australian citizens
Is there any point in keeping it?
Do you have any other comments?
I believe it is likely that much mischief is likely to be made by the right-wing and libertarian-inclined media. Getting the words right, and getting the messaging right will be a key. I have no doubt that the Referendum Council have considered this, but
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