Discussion paper response

Cassandra Harrison
What is your full name?
Cassandra Harrison
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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?
A constitutional change, and accompanying policy measures.
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?
A preamble, preceding the Constitution as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples preceded the British.
What should the statement say?
The Referendum Council's suggested wording seems appropriate to me, but I am not of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, so I do not feel I can recommend wording of such a statement. Let the words come from the communities they will represent.
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?
Section 51 (xxvi), to be amended to specify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Do you have any other comments on powers to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples?
In some cases it may be necessary to make special laws about a specific race or culture, to their benefit (e.g. Closing the Gap, Native Title). However this is fraught with potential for corruption and bigotry. It is complex, but one would hope the multi-
Do you think that a guarantee against racial discrimination should go into the Constitution?
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?
An Indigenous Advisory body (see next section) could hold the Parliament to account over potentially discriminatory issues.
Do you have any other comments on changing the Constitution to stop racial discrimination?
I don't believe there should be an additional section about this. Given that there is already the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, that all citizens are held to, our elected representatives should always consider this when acting on behalf of the people th
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?
A new ATSIC?
Do you have any other comments on this Indigenous group?
Conduct a formal evaluation of ATSIC to ascertain why it was abolished. Was it achieving its desired outcomes? Were there operational issues? The ATSIC concept is sound, but perhaps it was just the operation that was lacking. Too many times policies or es
Should we delete section 25?
What would we achieve by getting rid of section 25?
We would remove a form of (negative) racial discrimination from the Constitution.
Is there any point in keeping it?
No. In a political system of compulsory voting, there should be no reason at all to ban a certain race from voting. It is an outdated, racist clause and it is embarrassing that it is still there.
Do you have any other comments?
The changes to be proposed in the referendum need to be minimal, clear and simple. This will ensure the general public understand why they are being asked to go to the polls again, and how the change will impact them. Most referenda in Australia have fail
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