The 2017 Lowitja Oration
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? There’s certainly one thing worse than minimal symbolic constitutional change accompanied by substantive change outside the Constitution, and that is no mention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution, either because we judged it all too hard or too compromised, or because we tried to achieve too much, too soon.
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