Indigenous recognition needs to be taken seriously, action is needed not just a conversation. Speaking on ABC TV Warren Maundine stated that leadership is needed and bipartisanship is needed in tackling the issue of recognition of indigenous Australians.
One of the first things that can be done is a preamble of recognition of indigenous peoples in the Australian Constitution. Warren Maundine on ABC TV also stated that this would have no real legal ramification.
He further stated that it needs to be recognised that Australia did not start in 1788 but started with the indigenous people thousands of years before. He continued by saying that “it is a no-brainer”.
Still more needs to be done. Recognition of indigenous Australians needs to go further and needs to have a complete overhaul.
Having a preamble recognising indigenous Australians in the Constitution would have a significant emotional and spiritual impact upon the indigenous peoples of Australia just like the National apology did.
To some extent it would also unify indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.
Indigenous Australians suffered a major blow under the Liberal-National coalition Government in 2013 when cuts to aboriginal legal services were made. These cuts to aboriginal legal services will undermine action on aboriginal jobs and education.
The National Director for Australians for Native Title and Reconciliation (ANTaR) Gary Highland said that defunding the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (NATSILS) would lead to more in indigenous people going to prison and undermine efforts to improve indigenous community safety.
Mr Highland stated that in recent years the leadership of NATSILS had significantly improved the professionalism and effectiveness of the aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal sector. These gains would be lost if the organisation was defunded.
Not only is Constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians the right thing to do it is also important that funding of indigenous programs like indigenous legal aid services are not defunded and are funded fully. Tony Abbott said he wanted to “start a conversation” about indigenous recognition.
Action is needed more then starting a conversation. Real and genuine steps need to be taken in this important national issue. Major steps need to be taken to address issues such as inequality between indigenous and nonindigenous communities economically, socially, educationally and with regards to civil rights.