Today, I present to the House the second installment of the boomerang petition, with some 2,635 signatures supporting the recognition of Indigenous people in the Constitution.
Cairns Indigenous leader Norman Miller has collected more than 5,100 signatures in total—a huge effort from a single person committed to a particular cause.
Norman has travelled around Australia getting signatures at Australia Day events, NAIDOC parades and football matches—even standing on street corners to communicate his message and gather support from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
I would like to acknowledge his wife, Barbara, who has been with him through the entire journey.
Norman says: “It is time to put this issue to rest once and for all with a yes vote in a referendum to change the constitution to recognize Indigenous people and remove racism. We can do no less and we cannot delay this issue or consign it to the scrapheap of history or rubbish tip of time.“
I absolutely agree, and I urge Indigenous Australians to come together and form a consensus on the wording for a referendum. This process cannot be rushed, but we must have engagement and ownership by Indigenous Australia. I am very proud to present this petition today on Norman Miller's behalf.
The petition read as follows—
To The Honourable The Speaker And Members Of The House Of Representatives
This petition of certain citizens of Australia draws to the attention of the House:
The concern raised by the Expert Panel reporting on the Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in January 2012 was the need to remedy the historical exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from Australia's Constitution and the need to remove discrimination.
We therefore ask the House to:
Educate the Australian nation about the need for constitutional change and hold a referendum within two years to:
- Remove Section 25—which says the States can ban people from voting based on their race;
- Remove section 51(xxvi)—which can be used to pass laws that discriminate against people based on their race;
- Insert a new section 51A – to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to preserve the Australian Government's ability to pass laws for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- Insert a new section 116A, banning racial discrimination by government; and
- Insert a new section 127 A, recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were this country's first tongues, while confirming that English is Australia's national language.
from 2,635 citizens