Search Results: constitution

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  • RELIGION

    NAIDOC Week homily

    • Frank Brennan
    • 02 July 2017

    There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of you, the First Australians. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the overwhelming majority of the voting public, regardless of when they or their ancestors first arrived in Australia. Given that you Indigenous Australians have spoken strongly through your representatives at Uluru in support of a First Nations Voice, it is now for the Referendum Council to recommend to government a timetable for constitutional change with maximum prospects of a 'Yes' vote.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    NAIDOC: Languages matter because people matter

    • Andrew Hamilton
    • 29 June 2017
    11 Comments

    The theme of the week is 'Our Languages matter'. It lies at the heart of the Uluru statement. It also poses questions about the way in which we conceive our identity as a nation. In Australia we communicate in many languages. English is the language of business and public life, but many other languages, both Indigenous and introduced, are the primary languages of groups of Australians. Language is much more than a means of communication. It is an emblem of our tribe. It shapes how we interact.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    No minister is an island

    • Kate Galloway
    • 22 June 2017
    9 Comments

    Three Commonwealth ministers faced the Victorian Court of Appeal on 16 June to make submissions as to why they shouldn't be charged with contempt of court. This extraordinary occurrence arose because the ministers made public comments about a sentencing matter still under deliberation. Andrew Hamilton has in these pages looked at how the ministers' comments might offend the presumption of innocence. However, there is a further issue at stake - a question of good government.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Petty political class is stunting Australia's growth

    • Fatima Measham
    • 20 June 2017
    15 Comments

    In the latest Essential poll, the primary vote for Pauline Hanson's One Nation lifted to 11 per cent. It does not bode well when competence is no longer the baseline; though in a leadership vacuum, 'someone else' holds a natural appeal. In any case, there can be worse things than incompetence. There is timidity. Mediocrity. Running up the cost of doing nothing at all. In so many ways, the Australian political class is holding us back. That is the crux of nearly every policy impasse over the past several years.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Puritanical citizenship changes promote less inclusive Australia

    • Kerry Murphy
    • 18 June 2017
    16 Comments

    While ideally all Australian should have some reasonable ability to communicate in English, it is unreasonable to expect it at such a high level. Consider parents sponsored to Australia who live here and provide care for their grandchildren while their own children work. I have heard of small businesses in western Sydney owned by Chinese Australians, who have learnt Assyrian, because most of their customers speak Assyrian, not English. They are not having trouble in 'economic participation'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    An inclusive Australia

    • Frank Brennan
    • 12 June 2017
    1 Comment

    This evening, we come together deliberately as people of diverse faiths and none, affirming the blessing of life in an inclusive country where all world views are to be respected. We are able to affirm that our spiritual lives sustain and strengthen our public lives and the vitality of the polis. Our Muslim hosts show us how to give thanks reverently for all the blessings of life, and how to attest publicly the spiritual dimension of all human life. Those of us who are migrants or descendants of migrants need to be particularly attentive to the yearnings and aspirations of those Australians who rightly claim an indigenous heritage with ancestors who have thrived on this continent for up to 60,000 years.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Uluru: take time to get this right

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 May 2017
    19 Comments

    The consultations conducted in Indigenous communities under the auspices and with the financial support of the Referendum Council have yielded a constant message that Indigenous Australians want substantive constitutional change and not just symbolic or minimalist change. The question is: How much should we attempt to put in the Constitution now, and how much should we place outside the Constitution, or delay for constitutional inclusion until another day?

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  • AUSTRALIA

    On Aboriginal land: seeking a place at the table

    • Frank Brennan
    • 30 May 2017
    6 Comments

    Indigenous leaders this last week have called for the creation of two new legal entities. They want a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission set up by legislation. The Makarrata Commission would supervise agreement making between governments and First Nations and engage in truth telling about history. The envisaged destination is a national Makarrata (or treaty). So the immediate constitutional issue is the creation of the First Nations Voice. There is no point in proceeding with a referendum on a question which fails to win the approval of Indigenous Australia. Neither is there any point in proceeding with a referendum which is unlikely to win the approval of the voting public.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Uluru Statement has lit a fuse that cannot go out

    • Kate Galloway
    • 29 May 2017
    10 Comments

    Political response has been ambivalent at best, and ambivalence sounds a death knell for mainstream engagement by a tentative public. Turnbull pointed out that any claim must be acceptable to the general public to succeed. In the next breath he discussed the success of the 1967 Referendum. This was disingenuous given the political reality of 67, where there was no case presented for a no vote. After the Uluru Statement, it is now not possible to ignore substantive constitutional reform, or treaty.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Philippines coming full, sordid circle

    • Fatima Measham
    • 24 May 2017
    3 Comments

    None of what continues to unravel in the Philippines is a shock. In August last year, barely more than a month from inauguration, Duterte mentioned the prospect of martial law in relation to his drug war. Duterte is the sixth president since the 1986 People Power revolution that overthrew Marcos. He is a close associate of the dictator's children. Martial law was long in play before the incidents in Marawi this week, and is in character for an ex-mayor with alleged links to 'death squads'.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Still fighting for our rights 50 years after the referendum

    • Dani Larkin
    • 21 May 2017
    5 Comments

    An interesting aspect was the shift in the mindset and understanding among non-indigenous Australians regarding Aboriginal rights. To note the way in which one dominating western culture moved toward recognising the rights of another culture that was oppressed by it is quite remarkable. We should consider those aspects of the mentality shift (from both cultures and their understanding of what the 1967 referendum meant) if we are ever to revisit that type of federal movement again.

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  • INTERNATIONAL

    Assange detention is far from over

    • Binoy Kampmark
    • 21 May 2017
    7 Comments

    The European Union, according to Assange, has been captivated by an unhealthy interest in indefinite detention: 'There is no time limit that someone can be detained without charge. That is not how we expect a civilised state to behave.' Prematurely, tabloid press and outlets were wondering if the latest developments meant the end of the drama. A statement from the Metropolitan Police dispelled any doubts about Assange's plight, should he wish to leave his narrow digs in Knightsbridge.

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