As young Australians we inherit an incomplete story. The Australian Constitution is the founding document of our country, but it does not recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and still contains racial discrimination. We need to change this.
With over 40,000 years of history, there’s a lot to recognise.
Australia is home to the oldest continuing cultures in the world. These cultures are alive today and make an important contribution to our country.
LANDS & WATERS
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have strong connections to their traditional lands and waters and continue to care for this country.
There are significant places and objects all over Australia that represent thousands of years of tradition.
There are over 140 Indigenous languages spoken in Australia today. These languages carry important knowledge that has been passed down between generations.
“Constitutional recognition goes to the heart of the story we tell about our nation. It would help to instil a sense of pride in every Australian child – black or white – by telling them they stand on the shoulders of this history.”
JASON GLANVILLE, CEO National Centre of Indigenous Excellence
“Our children and grandchildren should have the chance to learn from and be enriched by the first cultures of this land.”
TANYA HOSCH, Deputy Campaign Director Recognise
There are two sections in our Constitution that allow for racial discrimination. We are the only country in the world with these kinds of sections in our founding document.
S 25 ‘Races Disqualified From Voting’
Allows a state to ban a race from voting.
S 51(xxvi) ‘Race Power’
Allows the Commonwealth Government to make negative laws about a race of people.
These sections are underpinned by racism. Our first Prime Minister Sir Edmund Barton famously said the Race Power was needed “to regulate the affairs of the people of coloured or inferior races”
“We should understand we have an unequal Constitution in this country that doesn’t treat all Australian citizens as equals and we’ve got to fix that; it’s our job to fix that.”
MICK DODSON, Professor of Law, ANU
AROUND THE WORLD
Australia is lagging behind with no recognition of Indigenous peoples and no protections against racial discrimination in our founding document.
Have a look at how we stack up around the world.
“It’s important for Indigenous peoples wherever they live, whatever country they live, to feel genuinely included within those societies on terms that are equitable and are based on recognition and their rights as distinct peoples… The constitutions of countries are the most basic documents and frame the way society functions, the values it has.”
JAMES ANAYA, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
CHANGING THE CONSTITUTION
We can only change the Constitution by getting a majority of Australians in a majority of states to vote YES at a referendum. This is a big deal! Out of 44 referendums in our history, only 8 have been successful. To get there we need:
All major political parties need to get behind constitutional recognition
People need to understand constitutional recognition and the important issues around it
A grass roots movement of people who believe in the power of recognition and see it as important to them personally
Your voice counts! Young voters represent about 30% of the electorate and will have a key role to play at the next referendum. But we can’t wait for the referendum to recognise Indigenous Australians, we need to start today.
BOOK A SPEAKER
For your next event. We have Youth Ambassadors in every state and territory ready to take your community through the issues.
SIGN UP BELOW
as a supporter to remind the politicians that we care about constitutional recognition.