keywords: 1967 Referendum

  • AUSTRALIA

    2015 in review: Justice in recognition for Aboriginals

    • Frank Brennan
    • 15 January 2016
    9 Comments

    It is now more than three years (and three prime ministers) since the expert panel set up by the Gillard government reported on how the Constitution might be amended to provide recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. When I read the report, my heart sank. It had put forward a comprehensive, but unachievable and unworkable proposal for change. The lesson from 1967 is that a modest change carried overwhelmingly by the Australian people provides the impetus for change.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    A Human Rights Day tribute to the Northern Territory's Tony Fitzgerald

    • Frank Brennan
    • 10 December 2015

    I first met this Tony on my regular visits here to Darwin when he was working at the North Australian Aboriginal Legal Aid Service and then when he set up the mediation services under the auspices of Anglicare. In later years I knew him when he was your Anti-Discrimination Commissioner. He was a quiet, considered, gentle, strong and principled man. On Human Rights Day, it is only fitting that I honour Tony by offering some reflections on the architecture for human rights in Australia, on the contemporary human rights controversies, and on the way forward for better protection of the human rights of Aborigines and asylum seekers, two marginalised groups who had a special claim on Tony's sympathies.

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  • RELIGION

    'Equal laws and equal rights ... dealt out to the whole community'. How close 161 years on?

    • Frank Brennan
    • 04 December 2015
    1 Comment

    'Tonight, gathered here in the Southern Cross Club in the national capital, gathered as Eureka's children. We affirm that there is room for everyone under the Southern Cross. I hope you will return to Canberra carrying the Southern Cross flag when we proclaim the Australia Republic on 1 January 2020 which will be two elections after Australia last had a monarchist leader of a major political party. Tony Abbott is the last of his type. Whether the prime minister honoured to witness the proclamation is Malcolm Turnbull, Bill Shorten or another matters not.' Annual Dinner for Eureka's Children, Southern Cross Club, Canberra, 3 December 2015.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Justice for Aboriginals grows out of recognition

    • Frank Brennan
    • 19 October 2015
    7 Comments

    It is now more than three years (and three prime ministers) since the expert panel set up by the Gillard government reported on how the Constitution might be amended to provide recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. When I read the report, my heart sank. It had put forward a comprehensive, but unachievable and unworkable proposal for change. The lesson from 1967 is that a modest change carried overwhelmingly by the Australian people provides the impetus for change.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Contours and prospects for Indigenous recognition in the Australian constitution

    • Frank Brennan
    • 16 October 2015
    2 Comments

    I acknowledge those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who insist that they have never ceded their sovereignty to the rest of us. I join with those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who hope for better days when they are recognised in the Australian Constitution. As an advocate for modest constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, I respect those Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders who question the utility of such recognition. But I do take heart from President Obama's line in his Charleston eulogy for the late Reverend Clementa C. Pinckney: 'Justice grows out of recognition'.

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  • Reshaping the public space: Lessons for Australian refugee, Aboriginal and climate policy

    • Frank Brennan
    • 18 September 2015

    Pope Francis's concerns are not narrowly dogmatic or pedagogical but universally pastoral. He knows that millions of people, including erstwhile Catholics, are now suspicious of or not helped by notions of tradition, authority, ritual and community when it comes to their own spiritual growth which is now more individual and eclectic. He wants to step beyond the Church's perceived lack of authenticity and its moral focus on individual matters, more often than not, sexual. He thinks the world is in a mess particularly with the state of the planet — climate change, loss of biodiversity and water shortages, but also with the oppression of the poor whose life basics are not assured by the operation of the free market, and with the clutter and violence of lives which are cheated the opportunity for interior peace. He is going to great pains to demystify his office. He wants all people of good will to emulate him and to be both joyful and troubled as they wrestle with the probl

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Constitutional change that will improve indigenous quality of life

    • Frank Brennan
    • 01 July 2015
    6 Comments

    Those Aborigines who are most at home in modern Australia tend to be those with a secure foothold in both the Dreaming and the Market. Those who are most alienated and despairing are those with a foothold in neither. Constitutional change alone won't make things better. But a good Constitution is a better complement to other measures – such as a statutory charter – than a bad one.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Slow progress in Constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians

    • Frank Brennan
    • 19 May 2015
    7 Comments

    Our Constitution is premised on the outdated notions of terra nullius and assimilation. It is more than three years ago since the Gillard Government set up an Expert Panel, and the Abbott Government is waiting for consensus. Noel Pearson is right to insist that Aboriginal leaders need a place at the table.

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  • RELIGION

    Abbott's quest for constitutional inclusion

    • Frank Brennan
    • 25 March 2013
    9 Comments

    Given the opinion polls and divisions in Labor, it's no surprise Abbott is confidently preparing his team for government. Anything he says about constitutional change therefore carries weight. Advocates for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians would be heartened then by two of his recent speeches. 

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  • RELIGION

    Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Constitution

    • Frank Brennan
    • 21 March 2013
    1 Comment

    Frank Brennan's address 'Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Constitution' presented at the 18th National Schools Constitutional Convention, The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House, 21 March 2013.

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  • RELIGION

    Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders in Australia's Constitution

    • Frank Brennan
    • 06 July 2012
    8 Comments

    Most Australians would agree that it’s time to free the Constitution from all vestiges of racial discrimination. For this, it needs an amendment affirming the status as Indigenous Australians as equal citizens. But in the current political climate, a referendum is unlikely to produce the necessary super majority of electors in four of the six states voting in favour.

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  • AUSTRALIA

    Time to change our racist constitution

    • Michael Mullins
    • 23 January 2012
    8 Comments

    Those who have been aware of racism in the Constitution and prepared to tolerate it, have effectively blessed the attitude that it's acceptable to regard Indigenous Australians as second class citizens in theory as long as we treat them as equals in practice. 

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