Discussion paper response

Stephen Fodrocy
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Stephen Fodrocy
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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?
More than mere symbolic change. Something that creates positive and substantial change to our constitutional relationship with ATSI people. A preambular statement acknowledging the traditional owners of the land and their dispossession would be important
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?
Preamble. Currently it speaks of blessing under god, being united under the UK, and possessions of the Queen. There should also be an acknowledgment of the country's pre-colonial history.
What should the statement say?
Probably an acknowledgment of the preexisting ATSI people in Australia prior to the possession of the UK. A statement about cultural and racial unity between ATSI and non-ATSI Australians, like 'in recognition of the nation's pre-existing, traditional Aus
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?
It should be limited to beneficial laws, or laws intended to prohibit or remedy direct and indirect racial discrimination. This would give effect to the intent of the people in the 1967 referendum. Alternatively, could be limited by a more substantive ant
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?
Could be modelled on the current Commonwealth or Victoria anti-discrimination laws. It should outlaw discrimination on the basis of race, but have exceptions for affirmative action 'discrimination'. It should also create a positive right for private indiv
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?
Positive right that can support a cause of action against private individuals who discriminate on the basis of race not just against public actors.
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?
An advisory council that operates similarly to parliamentary standing committees with the capacity to review legislation. Potentially power to create/propose legislation, investigative powers into indigenous issues (inquires/hearings).
Do you have any other comments on this Indigenous group?
The council's recommendations or comments on legislation should both be compulsorily tabled in parliament and made a part of the explanatory memorandum. This would give greater effect to the council's powers, without making it more powerful than the elect
Should we delete section 25?
What would we achieve by getting rid of section 25?
It would have symbolic effect. It is obvious that the section recognises that States may disenfranchise ATSI people, but more would need to be done to prevent disenfranchisement beyond merely repealing section 25.
Is there any point in keeping it?
Its purpose is to punish states for disenfranchising ATSI people. It is modelled on the US reformation amendments. Getting rid of it would only be a good idea if the Constitution also protected a universal right to vote for all adults.
Do you have any other comments?
As we saw with the 1967 referendum, merely deleting discriminatory language in the Constitution does not also create a positive interpretation that prohibits discrimination against ATSI people. If we got rid of section 25, it may not mean that disenfranch
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