Last week, the Journey to Recognition visited Brisbane on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th of November.
The Journey to Recognition, or ‘The Journey’, is a national relay that has taken the constitutional recognition discussion to over 27,400 people in 273 communities. It has travelled over 39,700km since 27 May 2013- from the South East Cape in Tasmania to the Torres Strait and everywhere in-between.
We first reached Brisbane and Logan in November 2014, after four-wheel driving down the east coast of Queensland from Cape York. A massive hail storm swept through when we were in town in 2014, so we were due for another visit.
The timing couldn’t have been better. In September 2016 it was announced that RECOGNISE campaigner Mark Yettica-Paulson, a Brisbane man, would be stepping into the role of Joint Campaign Director. It made complete sense for the next Journey stop to be his hometown.
The first event was a panel discussion held at the Queensland Multicultural Centre.
On the night, Mark described the harmony for hosting our first event there:
“One of the reasons we’re at the Multicultural Centre is that this change is not just for white Australians. This change is for all of us.”
“Tonight’s format is for the critical questions and diverse opinions.”
The Panel speakers included Mark Yettica-Paulson, Michael Rose AM, member of the Referendum Council and Jatinder Kaur, director of JK Diversity Consultants. The event was facilitated by Edward Watkins.
Michael Rose spoke about how Queenslanders can get involved in the Referendum Council process, which is separate to the RECOGNISE campaign. The Referendum Council will make recommendations for a model for the referendum to be put to parliament.
“Our role (the Referendum Council) has two jobs.
“To consult with the Australian public, in particular, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“The second job is to recommend to the Government the changes proposed and how the changes should be put.”
“Here in Queensland, the Referendum council will probably come to Brisbane, the Torres Strait, Cairns and Western Queensland. There will be fifteen or so meetings in total.”
A great evening of robust discussion and Q&A with the audience. After the formal event, Sondra Paulson performed a solo set, and First Food Co. put on a light supper.
You can watch the panel discussion here:
On Thursday we had a less formal community event right in the heart of Brisbane at Reddacliff Place.
We were joined again by First Food Co and Game Enough?- two majority owned Aboriginal ‘Bush Food’ catering businesses.
Youth campaigners Ben, Bindi and Jo had a yarn with the crowd about the importance of their generation stepping up and making change.
“I want my niece and nephew to grow up in a country where they are recognised…. to heal the wound,” said Bindi.
Mark Yettica-Paulson once again joined us to talk about the role Queensland needs to play in fixing our highest legal document.
We were also joined by Anaiwan man from Northern Tablelands of NSW, Uncle Steve Widders.
He made a powerful point:
“We cannot live under a document that gives no recognition or acknowledgement of the traditional owners of the land. Fellow Australians! Take note! Step up and make a change in YOUR country!”
The afternoon closed with reflective performances by Sondra Paulson and Troy Brady.
Make sure to check out our Facebook for photos from our time in Brisbane and Logan.