Charter for Upholding the Australian Constitution and Recognising Indigenous Australians
- We are Australians who are proud of our country and our Constitution.
– We hold different political views.
– We come from different backgrounds.
– We speak for different generations.
– We have had different experiences of life.
- We value our Constitution, for it has served our nation well, providing Australia with an enviable record of stable democratic government.
- We are committed to preserving and protecting our Constitution.
- We are committed to the sovereignty of parliament and the rule of law.
- We believe that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples occupy a unique place in the history and culture of Australia.
- We believe Australians should formally recognise this.
- As befits a free people, living in a parliamentary democracy, there are amongst us differences of view and emphasis:
– Some of us hold such recognition to be a deep moral imperative;
– Some of us regard it as necessary for improving indigenous health and education, which are the real priorities;
– Some of us believe the issue needs to be resolved and taken off the agenda once and for all;
– Some of us wish to identify the least worst option for addressing this issue.
- We believe that our commitment to indigenous recognition is compatible with our commitment to upholding the integrity of the Australian Constitution.
- We believe that the Constitution is a practical charter of government and is not the place for symbolism and poetry, but for establishing practical rules and processes: symbolic and poetic expressions of recognition should occur outside the Constitution.
- We believe in constitutional certainty, acknowledging that inserting historical or symbolic language into the Constitution can create unintended consequences leaving all Australians worse off.
- We are committed to consulting widely with indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in order to develop a package that will enable our nation to recognise its indigenous peoples, whilst at the same time preserving the integrity of the Constitution.
- In particular, we are committed to working towards the following four priorities:
– Repealing section 25 of the Constitution;
– Repealing and replacing section 51(xxvi) of the Constitution so it reads:
“The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”;
– Adopting an extra-constitutional Declaration of Recognition;
– Ensuring the voice of indigenous people is heard in the processes of Parliament.
- We believe that such a range of measures would fairly recognise Australia’s indigenous peoples; help to enable better outcomes for them; and, at the same time, uphold the integrity of the Australian Constitution.
To register your support for our Charter, click here.