Deliberations of the Indigenous Referendum Council
I am taking this opportunity to write to you with regard to decisions made by the meeting of more than 250 community leaders forming the Indigenous Referendum Council (or as they call it ‘the 2017 National Constitutional Convention’ held at Uluru this week.
The Referendum Council grew out of the multi-million dollar federally funded Recognise organisation formed to gather support for the “recognise” (in the Australian Constitution) movement.
The Council rejected the concept of symbolic recognition in the Constitution and instead called for a Treaty between the government or parliament and the indigenous people as well as the establishment within the Constitution of a representative body elected by and for indigenous people.
A copy of the statement released by the council entitled ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ has been included in the below post.
The following paragraph is included in the body of this statement:
“This sovereignty is a spiritual notion: the ancestral tie between the land, or ‘mother nature’, and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who were born therefrom, remain attached thereto, and must one day return thither to be united with our ancestors. This link is the basis of the ownership of the soil, or better, of sovereignty. It has never been ceded or extinguished, and co-exists with the sovereignty of the Crown.”
The actual meaning behind these words does need to be examined very carefully.
Whilst the creation of an Indigenous representative body within the Constitution would need to be put to the people at a referendum, the government would be asked to itself enter into a treaty, although the power to do so may be open to challenge.
The Australian Monarchist League is watching developments in this regard very closely to see how these proposals may impinge upon the Constitution. To have a sort of Indigenous assembly constitutionally elected to scrutinise proposed legislation and make recommendations could be fraught with danger, but at this stage we are unable to comment until we see the actual wording and the powers proposed for the elected body.
Under our constitutional system, parliament is supreme and subject only to the Constitution and to the people. If the Constitution is amended, then that may affect the powers and the supremacy of the Parliament.
Philip Benwell, National Chair, Australian Monarchist League