We need to fix the historical exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from Australia's Constitution

We need to fix the historical exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from Australia's Constitution More...

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It’s a tremendous feeling to think that our ancestors have been here for more than 40,000 years, we’re the oldest living cultures on Earth. I'm proud to see the NRL play a strong role in supporting constitutional recognition of the first Australians.

NATHAN MERRITT, ex-NRL player and NRL ambassador

It makes sense to me because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been here longer than anyone in our country. They were here first. It’s part of our history and it certainly should be recognised.

ANTHONY MINICHIELLO, ex-NRL player and NRL ambassador

We want to be recognised. It’s just as simple as that. We’ve never been recognised. We are the first Australians, okay? And it is time we were recognised.

LOWITJA O'DONOGHUE, legendary campaigner

Being included in the Constitution gives us visibility, it will give us an opportunity to share our stories and our voice with the rest of Australia.

TONY ALBERT, Sydney-based Aboriginal artist

I hope that future generations of Australians will grow up learning about the rich and impressive first cultures of our country – and constitutional recognition is part of achieving that.

ADAM GOODES, Australian of the Year 2014

The long presence of Aboriginal people in this land is part of Australia’s history. I think every fair-minded Australian can understand why recognition will help us to heal old wounds.


Here in Australia we pride ourselves on equality and opportunity. And it’s time to ensure that our Constitution reflects those values.

GAVIN WANGANEEN, AFL legend and Brownlow Medallist

The moment has come for the silence about the unique and valuable contribution of Indigenous Australians to be rectified, and for discrimination to be removed from the Constitution. It has no place in our future.

TANYA HOSCH, Former Joint Campaign Director for Recognise

Until that (constitutional recognition) is addressed, then we truly can't go forward as a people, as a nation, as Australians, as a whole.

ARCHIE ROACH, Singer and Songwriter

I am very proud that my football club, the Adelaide Crows are supporting it and also a lot of my family and friends. I’d urge you to get on board, support Recognise and the wonderful work they do. It’s an opportunity to make our country a lot better

ANDREW MCLEOD, Adelaide Crows Legend

Constitutional recognition goes beyond symbolic significance and will have practical consequences for equality. It's a way of acknowledging and respecting Indigenous Australians' distinct cultures, identities and custodianship of the land.

GABI HOLLOWS, founding director, Fred Hollows Foundation

Recognition of the first peoples in the Constitution sends a message that you are valued, you are important, that we want to respect you, and we want to deal with the things that have caused us division and discord in the past.


We'll declare our shared pride about one of the things that makes our nation unique – the long unbroken thread of people and culture in this land

DAVID THODEY, former Chief Executive Officer of Telstra

This is a unique opportunity for our nation to stand strong, proud and respectful in who we are, where we have come from, and where we can go together in the future

ANNE GALE, SA Commissioner for Equal Opportunity

My mum passed on a few years ago, and she asked me to continue her story, and I’m doing that, and this is part of that. If we can get Constitutional Recognition it means one hell of a step in the right direction.

UNCLE BRYON POWELL, Wadawurrung Elder

What a great thing for Australia it would be if, at last, we recognised Australia’s first people in our Constitution - it's part of who we are as a nation.

CHRISTINE MILNE, former Greens Party Room Leader

We have the chance to demonstrate to the world, but more importantly, to our children and to all those who follow, that we will make our nation better and stronger and fairer by fixing this silence in our Constitution.

KENNY BEDFORD, Torres Strait Regional Authority Member

Constitutional Recognition would allow the first chapter in the Australian story to be acknowledged. Our history is part of the shared story of every Australian and our Indigenous heritage is something that enhances and enriches every one of us.

ADEN RIDGEWAY, spokesperson for Recognise

A lot of Aboriginal people have missed out because they were excluded - they weren’t included - in some parts of our history. How can you feel like a citizen if you are not written up in the Constitution as being here?

SHIRLEY PEISLEY, 1967 Referendum campaigner

This has been a long time coming. If it happened tomorrow, it wouldn't be too soon. It should have happened quite some time ago.

JACK THOMPSON, Screen legend

Our nation’s Constitution will be inherited by our children and future generations – let’s fix it now, and not leave this work to them. Let our children know that when we had the opportunity to advance Australia fair, we did.

SONIA WATERS, Director of Aboriginal Services, Anglicare

The Apology was about getting it right for the past. Constitutional recognition is about getting it right for tomorrow.

KEVIN RUDD, Former Prime Minister

This process is about creating a new story for our country in the next era – one in which we are all more proud and more versed in our longer history. When we do that, we will connect our long past to an easier future.

KHATIJA THOMAS, SA Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement

Righting the historical wrong that has seen Indigenous Australians wilfully left out of Australian’s Constitution will be a powerful step towards true inclusion for Indigenous Australians

GAIL KELLY, former Westpac Chief Executive Officer

This is much more than a question of symbolism, this is a question of national wellbeing and national identity. It's about coming to terms with who we are as a nation and deciding who we want to be in the future.

NOEL PEARSON, Cape York Institute

Recognition to me is about continuing the work my Great Great Grandfather William Cooper began many years ago. It’s about putting right what’s been wrong for too long. It’s essential.

SHARON SOWTER, Yorta Yorta woman and Melton school teacher

We are the First Australians. It's up to all of us to come together and acknowledge and recognise this. We have the longest continuing culture in the world. Aboriginal culture doesn't just belong to Aboriginal Australians. It belongs to all of us.

MILLIE INGRAM, Wiradjuri elder

I think we have a duty to do the right thing. So I'm encouraging you, as a person you know is pretty conservative, to move yourself to the position where we move this nation forward as one.

BARNABY JOYCE, Deputy Prime Minister

Constitutional reform will make us a better nation - more at peace with our past, and more confident and united as we face the future together.

JULIA GILLARD, Former Prime Minister

The Constitution of Australia is the rule book of our nation yet the original inhabitants of Australia are not recognised at all.

DAMIEN ARMSTRONG, Alice Springs local

We support Recognition. It’s important for our identity. It’ important to make us feel good, to be proud of who we are and where we come from, and our culture and our people.

EMMA HAY, CEO of Burrandies Aboriginal Corporation

I think there are many things that we have to recognise about who we are and who we have been as a nation, but we should also recognise what we can be. I think that’s a great message.

CLYDE RIGNEY, Raukkan Community Leader

I believe the Recognise campaign is a movement that we each need to be a part of. We all need to stand up to make a difference.

TRISH ALBERT, Yidinji and Girramay woman

If we were crafting our Constitution in 2014, we would not accept the omission of the first four hundred centuries of our national history from our national definitive document.

BILL SHORTEN, Leader of the Opposition

I can really see it as a huge opportunity and a way of healing a nation. The starting point of healing a nation.

YVETTE SALAM, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander woman, QLD

Our culture is the oldest continuing culture on the planet. It outdates the pyramids, it outdates the Bible. It’s something that is not only significant to us but as a nation we should be celebrated and acknowledged.

HAROLD LUDWICK, Bulgun Warra Traditional Owner

Constitutional recognition is not something to be scared of. We have a real opportunity here to enact lasting historical and well overdue change to our Constitution.

KEN WYATT, Assistant Health Minister

Ultimately this is an opportunity for all Australians to celebrate 50,000 years of this nation's history, not just the last 226.

NOVA PERIS, first female Aboriginal Senator

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples need to be recognised in our Constitution. Fairness and respect need to be at the heart of our nation's founding document with the removal of its discriminatory provisions.

KIM WILLIAMS, AFL Commissioner

The gaps in the Constitution’s pages reflect and shape gaps in our knowledge and thinking. When it remains silent on the long first chapter of our national story, we do too, in the playground, in the workplace, at our dinner tables.

LESTER-IRABINNA RIGNEY, Professor of Education, Uni of SA

This will be a chance for us to say no more shall we permit the exclusions and discriminations of the past.

BOB HAWKE, former Prime Minister

It is the right time and the right thing to do. Don't wait for five or ten years, otherwise some of us will be old or gone.

DJUNGA DJUNGA YUNUPINGU, Senior Gumatj elder, Nhulunbuy

Despite Australia’s rich history, at the moment the chapter recognising Indigenous Australians is missing from the document that makes us a nation.

JASON GILLESPIE, Former Australian Test cricketer

Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our nation's founding document and ensuring there is no place for racial discrimination is about fairness, inclusion and respect, values Australian cricket aims to live by.


We need to ensure the first Australians are recognised and treated the same as every other person in our nation and under our Constitution.

MELANIE KEMP, Yuibera descendant, Mackay

Constitutional recognition stands to improve confidence by not just addressing past wrongs, but celebrating and valuing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history and spirituality in the past, present and into the future.

DR JASON LEE, Chair of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Mental Health Committee

It is time to remove the divide between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people; a time to accept and acknowledge a shared history. By doing this, we can move forward together and share Australia's future.

TIANA CULBONG, Noongar woman, Perth

As long as the so-called race clauses remain in the pages of our official rulebook ­for that’s what the Constitution is ­we will be giving our silent approval for racism and discrimination to continue in the community.


Our Constitution gives no clarity nor commitment that we will never again face the many discriminations and exclusions that we have faced in the past ­ and that we continue to face now.

JOE MORRISON, Northern Land Council CEO

We need to make it clear to the whole world and to the future Australians that we value our country's unique Indigenous heritage and traditions.

DARRYL BLACK, Kairi man, Emerald, QLD

RECOGNISE Youth is coming to Brisbane for a two-day workshop giving young Australians an opportunity to be youth ambassadors for the RECOGNISE campaign!

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Campaigning for change

Posted on 07.04.2017 in 0

RECOGNISE Youth is coming to Brisbane for a two-day workshop giving young Australians an opportunity to be youth ambassadors for the RECOGNISE campaign!

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THE Recognise Youth campaign has kicked off in Queensland, with young people travelling from across the state to discuss constitutional recognition.

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