Recognition not about concession: Dodson
Call for a constitutional amendment to "recognize" Aborigines has been rumbling on for some time. That the 1967 referendum long ago recognized Aborigines seems to be forgotten. So what do they want? Money, as far as I can see.
Aborigines seem to feel that they have some rights that other Australians do not and that a formal recognition of those rights would enable them to sell those rights for money. The Left encourage them in that view, even though six years of ALP rule from 2007 to 2013 did not result in any action in that direction
Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal people is not about a "concession to the natives" but how Australia can embrace its multiple heritages and forge a unified view, says Senator Pat Dodson.
Discussion of constitutional recognition of indigenous people is beginning to pivot to a consideration of what it will really offer, as a grassroots movement for a treaty builds momentum.
Cape York leader Noel Pearson said at Garma Festival in northeast Arnhem Land on Saturday that the two aren't mutually exclusive.
"If we think they are somehow separate agendas this whole agenda will fail," he said. "Constitutional recognition provides the hook that enables agreements to be made... and a national settlement to be made."
Senator Dodson said the matter concerned all Australians.
"It's not some concession to the natives," he said.
"It is about this nation coming to terms with its dark, desperate and miserable history and yet being able to celebrate... the British tradition, the multiculturalism and the indigenous heritage, and to intertwine that in a way that gives this civil state we call Australia a new identity, a new capacity to do things differently."
Recognition would help Australia come to terms with itself, he said.
"Not only with its truth... that underlies the dispossession and the truth that pertains to the racism that underpins public policy and the ignorance that goes with that, but it also goes to the fatigue, the wearing down of indigenous peoples because bureaucracies and governments can do that.
"They have energy, they have resources, the time; they can gloat in the forms of their conservatism and frustrate the energies of the leaders that seek to make things better for indigenous people."
He warned parliament that it was not engaging in a parallel education process with indigenous people.
"Parliament has to prepare itself, not only for constitutional recognition but the agenda that has to flow through there... The need for post-recognition settlement, for the capacity to reshape the relations and reprioritise the programs and capacity of Aboriginal people in the delivery of those services and development of those mechanisms," he said.