Recognition Unpacked

30 / 07 / 2015

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Dr Megan Davis is a Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales, malady where she is also Director of the Indigenous Law Centre. Megan is an expert member of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII) and holds portfolios including Administration of Justice and Gender and Women. In 2012 Megan was the Rapporteur of the UNPFII Expert Group Meeting on Violence Against Indigenous Women in New York and elected again in 2013 as Rapporteur of the UNPFII Expert Group Meeting on Indigenous Youth.

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Megan teaches, writes and researches in the areas of Constitutional Law and Public International Law. In 2011, she was appointed by the Federal Government to the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the Constitution and continues to be involved in legal discussions on the constitutional issues relating to the referendum model. In addition, Megan specialises in legal issues pertaining to Violence against Indigenous Women. And that’s all before lunch!

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Somehow, between a flying visit to Geneva and all her other duties, Megan managed to pen this potted summary of the very vexed issue which is the long awaited recognition of Australia’s traditional owners in the Constitution. As Megan explains, there’s recognition, and then there’s RECOGNITION. 

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Australia is currently considering constitutional reform in the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I hesitate to use the abstruse and indeterminate term “recognition” which has proved a problematic term for Indigenous leaders pursuing substantive reform. For those mainstream commentators and members of the public not commonly engaged in constitutional law or indigenous affairs (which is the majority of the population) “recognition”, presupposes symbolism; a statement that recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as a population, geographically, historically and perhaps some manifestations of their culture, with or without a no legal effect clause. However, Indigenous advocacy for constitutional reform for the past few decades has not been about “recognition” by the Australian people.

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If recognition is a spectrum then the populist notion of recognition is a “weak” form. Strong form recognition, however, is aligned with long-held political aspirations expressed through significant statements such as the Yirrkala Bark Petitions and significant reports such as the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, the yet-to-be-implemented Social Justice settlement following the Mabo decision and the report of the Expert Panel on the Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’. The populist conversation about symbolic recognition feeds Indigenous ambivalence about the recognition project.

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how to buy Revia online without prescription in San Diego California Australia’s democratic culture – distinguished by an extreme form of parliamentary sovereignty – poses a problem for indigenous peoples who constitute approximately 2% of 22 million people. We are saying the ballot box is not enough for us. We cannot influence the ballot box. The trajectory of indigenous advocacy over the decades – pre and post 1967 – has been aimed at that challenge.

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order generic Viagra without prescription in Toledo Ohio Globally, most liberal democracies temper “majoritarianism” in a variety of ways: electoral systems that encourage more independent or minority voices or “rights”; bills of rights and charters of rights; or in the case of indigenous peoples, treaties, agreements or other constructive arrangements, reserved seats or indigenous parliaments. Australia has resisted such structural accommodation.

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Tastylia (Tadalafil) 100% guarantee of pleasure In this iteration of constitutional reform the two primary proposals are a racial non-discrimination clause in Section 116A and a new parliamentary body, as proposed by the Cape York Institute and others. These are the two primary ways indigenous peoples have identified as the approaches to constraining a Parliament attuned primarily to majoritarian democracy. They are concrete and substantive, carefully considered and thought out proposals for law reform. The planned Aboriginal constitutional conventions – run and organised by Aboriginal communities – will discuss and debate these substantive proposals.

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ebook sul trading free There are many challenges to the current debate, notably the exaggerated claims and general hyperbole that recognition can somehow “complete” the nation, significantly improve health outcomes, improve race relations, and “complete” the constitution. There are many counter-arguments to these assertions, including the fact of a body of Indigenous health research internationally which demonstrates that countries with strong form recognition are achieving the best health outcomes for their Indigenous populations. Note that this is the form Australia is NOT contemplating.

köpa svensk viagra The reality is that settler-colonised relationships are never resolved. The relationship is an ongoing one. Exaggerated claims about what constitutional change can achieve has led to a fear commonly expressed by indigenous people that Australians will say, post referendum, “but we recognised you already.” People often eagerly speak about the “morning after” a referendum victory. In some ways, many are “chasing the high” of a triumph at the ballot box – a tangible outcome for those with a successful referendum as a KPI – but with virtually no focus on what comes next. This is not lost on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. And part of this is the lack of public discussion and political planning about what comes after a referendum. Similarly doomsday rhetoric if a referendum “fails” is problematic. There is a concern that these kinds of overblown statements put pressure on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to accept something for the sake of peace.

iq options отзывы The recognition project is no 1967 campaign. Comparisons are convenient and sentimental but far too ahistorical. Geo-political influences to one side, one of the most important factors of 1967 is that many Aboriginal people lived in reserves; there was compulsory segregation at the time. The physical manifestations of exclusion and inequality were visible to the eye. Today there are not the equivalent overt physical manifestations of racial segregation. This is a new and more complex era. This is why I am opposed to the contrived referendum date of the 50th anniversary of 1967. The 1967 referendum deserves to behonoured distinctly. The impatience for a 1967 referendum is, as Fred Chaney has observed, quintessentially Australian when it comes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs: “political timetables trump workable timetables”. The timetable to a referendum should take as long as is required to build Indigenous and popular support for amendment that will make a tangible, measurable difference to peoples’ lives.

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