THE Journey to Recognition will make its way to Bathurst today, with members of the community invited to a public forum.
The forum will discuss how, more than 100 years after Federation, there is still nothing about Australia’s original inhabitants in the Constitution.
The Commonwealth of Australia’s Constitution may detail the nation’s operations, but the lack of acknowledgement of Indigenous Australians remains a glaring omission, according to Recognise deputy director communications Johanna Kerin.
“When it was written more than a century ago, the Constitution did not recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had already lived in this land for tens of thousands of years,” she said.
“Until 1967, it said Aboriginal people were not included in the official population count, and prevented the federal government from making specific laws for the Aboriginal race.
“The Constitution talks about lighthouses, shipping beacons, buoys and coinage – but still includes no mention of the first Australians, and the first tens of thousands of years of Australia’s history.”
Aunty Lonnie, a Gamilaraay Elder who has lived on Wiradyuri country for more than three decades, says constitutional recognition is important for future generations.
“Racism is robbing my grandchildren of their future. It will be a big welcome to Aboriginal people, after all this time, to be recognised in the Constitution,” she said.
Recognise joint campaign director Tanya Hosch said it was critical that all Australians know about the Constitution, what it says and what needs fixing.
The Journey to Recognition began in May 2013 and has travelled 34,500 kilometres to 252 communities.
The public forum will be held at Peace Park, by the river in Stanley Street, from 11am-2pm.