News

Recognising the first Australians

Aboriginal people won a referendum in 1967 for the right to vote, and now all Australians will be asked to go to the ballot to give them recognition in the Constitution.

Page MP Janelle Saffin said it had been an honour to be a part of the panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for the past year. The panel handed their report to Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin last Thursday and the government will now consider the recommendations and how best to frame a question to take to a referendum.

Over the past 12 months the panel has hosted 250 consultation sessions all over the country including one in Lismore and has received over 3500 written submissions. Ms Saffin was one of only four parliamentarians on the 22-member panel and said it was a great thing to be a part of. It was co-chaired by Indigenous leader Pat Dodson and lawyer Mark Leibler and was made up of other prominent Indigenous and non-Indigenous

Australians including Liberal MP Ken Wyatt, Greens MP Rachel Siewert and Independent MP Rob Oakeshott.

"We were a microcosm of Australia that came together and had to ask ourselves, 'how do we approach this?'

"We had four principles to guide us that served us well which were that whatever we came up with had to be technically and legally sound, it had to be capable of being supported by the overwhelming majority of Australians, it had to benefit the wishes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and contribute to a more unified and reconciled nation," Ms Saffin said.

The panel has enjoyed the support of all political parties and aims to create a Constitution that recognises the continuing cultures, languages and heritages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples; remove racist elements; and prohibit discrimination on the grounds of race, colour or ethnic or national origin.

Ms Saffin said 82% of Australians supported Constitutional reform to acknowledge Aboriginal people and said there was still a lot of work to do to ensure that the wording of a referendum was supported by both the Opposition and the ALP.

"Some people say it is symbolic, but we can't forget the power of symbolism on how we see ourselves and how we feel... The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists said there is a positive effect and improved self-esteem and mental health from symbolic changes."

The report can be viewed at www.youmeunity.org.au.


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Long and shorts of new fashion

REALLY: Vogue magazine presents a fashion view "far removed from the daily grind”.

Check-in queue at Ballina Airport feels the weight of woman in front

Lunch lauds women

Organisers of the Lismore Women's Festival Luncheon Back - left to right: Zoe Dodd, Louise Collins, Sandra Handley Front - left to right: Emily Fajerman, Amelia Bolt, Lois Kelly, Zell Bennett

Festival attracts big names for its luncheon

Hollywood star to shine at high tea

STAR: Virginia Elizabeth 'Geena' Davis is an American actress, film producer, writer, former fashion model, and former archer.

Star of Beetlejuice, Thelma and Louise discussing Women and Media

Local Partners

EAT THE STREET: Save the date for this year's festival

MORE food stalls and cooking demonstrations at the signature Lismore event.

Andy Saunders brings race, family and life into comedy

ON STAGE: Australian comedian Andy Saunders wants to help us all lighten up.

Part of NORPA's Lismore Laughs 2017

BIG RIDE: Matt to bring out smiles for Smiddy

LONG WAY ROUND: Matt Muir raises his bike in triumph on his ride last year.

Fundraiser at Yamba Shores Tavern ahead of 800km charity ride

TLK trio ready to tell stories

Hip Hop outfit Teddy Lewis King are Teddy Rhodes, Mitch King and DJ Mud.

Hip hop troupe prepares to release new single

Paul Murray listens to regions

The man who can talk underwater is ready to listen and broadcast it back to the pollies.

Why Hollywood’s siding with Brad Pitt over Angelina Jolie

Jolie may have the kids, but Pitt has custody of Hollywood

Tensions high at pointy end of MKR's round two

Things are really heating up on My Kitchen Rules.

Games are being played around the My Kitchen Rules table

Jungle Jay sent packing from I'm a Celebrity

I'm A Celebrity ... Get Me Out Here! contestant Jay Laga'aia with Keira.

BIG friendly giant Jay Laga'aia has been eliminated from I'm A Celeb

Carson Kressley brings 'camp' to I'm a Celebrity jungle

"I am not all Park Avenue and daffodils” ... Carson Kressley.

Meet the "campest” campmate to star on I'm a Celebrity.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi mystery already solved

FILE- This undated file photo provided by Disney shows Daisey Ridley as Rey, left, and John Boyega as Finn, in a scene from the film, \"Star Wars: The Force Awakens.\" Hasbro said it is changing its Star Wars Monopoly set after an 8-year-old girl became upset that Rey, the movie's female heroine, was not included as a figure along with Darth Vader and Kylo Ren. (Disney/Lucasfilm via AP, File) MANDATORY CREDIT

A key mystery surrounding the title of episode eight has been solved

Kids' game "full of f**king paedophiles" according to dad

A mortified dad has expressed serious concerns over an online game

Potential home buyers punished for doing the 'right thing'

Should I go to university or buy a house?

What $11.9m can get you on Coast's most exclusive street

29-31 Wyuna Drive Noosaville Qld 4566

This is what a cool $11.9m can get you

How a first home buyer built house with no deposit

NEARLY THERE: Construction on the first house to home orphans at Umoja began in January.



Photo Contributed

His home will be completed later this year.

Just a lazy $2.9 million, this hideaway could be yours

Fancy a rainforest hideaway?

“We figured we wanted to spend more time outside."

ROOM FOR RENT: Airbnb market takes off in Toowoomba

Airbnb places are popping up faster than ever before in Toowoomba

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!