Aboriginal petition to remove racism from constitution

November 23, 2013 by  
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The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bronwyn Bishop,  has been presented with a giant boomerang by Norman Miller, Chairman of the Centre for International Reconciliation and Peace Inc. at Parliament House.

 

Bronwyn Bishop receives petition

Bronwyn Bishop receives petition

It is called the boomerang petition because Mr Miller, who is a pastor, artist and social justice campaigner, has made a giant boomerang and gathered about 360 signatures on the back of it asking for constitutional change to recognize Indigenous people in the constitution and remove racism from it.

Mr Miller has also presented a paper boomerang petition to Ken Wyatt, Member for Hasluck, the Chairperson of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The petition has 2,115 signatures on it gathered from Indigenous and non-Indigenous people from all over Australia and basically follows the recommendations of the Expert Panel on the Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.

It is planned that Warren Entsch, the Member for Leichhardt ,will be tabling this petition in Parliament in the next fortnight’s sitting. It has been signed by Australians from all walks of life.

Miller said the purpose of his campaign, which he will continue, is to prepare people for a yes vote in a referendum to be held on these issues in the term of the current parliament. Tripartisan support is already there which will make it easier to achieve” said Miller.

“My aim has been one of public education, raising community awareness and support and keeping the issue before government, bolstering its political will in this matter” he said. “While getting signatures for this petition, I have met people from all walks of life, Indigenous and non-Indigenous and found that there is little knowledge of this issue on the street and I have been able to discuss the issues and gain broad support.”

“The 1967 Referendum enabled Indigenous people to be counted in the census instead of the degrading situation of being counted with plants and animals and now we need to take the next step” Miller said.” My petition to the House of Representatives says the following:

‘We therefore ask the House to:

Educate the Australian nation about the need for constitutional change and hold a referendum within two years to:

  • Remove Section 25 – which says the States can ban people from voting based on their race;
  • Remove section 51(xxvi) – which can be used to pass laws that discriminate against people based on their race;
  • Insert a new section 51A – to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to preserve the Australian Government’s ability to pass laws for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • Insert a new section 116A, banning racial discrimination by government; and
  • Insert a new section 127A, recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were this country’s first tongues, while confirming that English is Australia’s national language.’”

“I am encouraged” said Mr Miller that this nation has come to the maturity to enable it to make changes to the constitution that will benefit the whole nation. It will also be an act of reconciliation. I have a strong desire to see justice done and I believe that the Australian people, at core, have a belief in a fair go for all.”

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