New 50c coin commemorates Mabo decision and 1967 referendum
The events concerned were significant so it is not unreasonable to commemorate them but what about some centenaries that could have been commemorated? In 1917 Lieutenant Frank Hubert McNamara became the first Australian airman to receive the Victoria Cross; in 1917 The two halves of the Trans-Australian Railway met; in 1917 The second plebiscite on the issue of military conscription was held and defeated. But who cares about old white guys and their history these days?
But while we are on the subject, I might at least note what the 1967 referendum actually showed. I am guessing that you won't see much discussion of that in the media. For a start it showed a big majority (91%) of the population voting in favour of Aborigines. So even in those days of inspissated darkness, Australians were NOT generally racist in any sense.
But the second finding is more interesting. Who were the blackguards who voted AGAINST Aboriginal recognition? As Mitchell showed, they were the people who had most contact with Aborigines. So dislike of Aborigines can be reality-based rather than based in any racist ideology. Pesky! Details here
The face of Eddie Mabo is etched into the newest 50 cent coin, as the Royal Australian Mint commemorates 50 years since the 1967 referendum and 25 years since the Mabo decision.
As well as the historic figure, the coin features Torres Strait Islander and Australian Aboriginal flags, and iconic pamphlets from the referendum.
Designed in collaboration with Eddie Mabo’s granddaughter, Boneta-Marie Mabo, the coin was unveiled in a ceremony at Old Parliament House.
Also attending the event was Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion, and people who were involved in the 1967 referendum campaign.
Ms Mabo said she was proud to represent her family. "I am so honoured that the Royal Australian Mint invited me to work with them as an artist to design the coin and that they have given me the opportunity to be a part of such a nationally recognised celebration which means so much to me and my family," she said.
Royal Australian Mint CEO Ross MacDiarmid told SBS World News the anniversaries were two of the most significant events in Australian history.
"Once we realised that these things were coming together and it was also the start of the national reconciliation week it seemed obvious to us that we could create a coin that was going to be a recognising the significance of both of those occasions," he said.
He hopes when people come across the coin they will "stop and reflect on what message might be associated with that coin."
Four million of the coins will be released into circulation at buildings in Canberra, such as the National Library, the National Portrait Gallery and Parliament House, and from there they will make their way around the country.