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Letter to The Editor - The "owners" of the whole land of Australia is a romantic fantasy
To The Age Your editorial "Indigenous voice needs to be heard" (4/12) fails to convince that such a "voice" should be constitutionally entrenched. The interests of all Australians need to be fairly considered before any change is made to our constitution. In particular, terminology needs to be carefully deployed. "Traditional ownership" and "indigenous" are terms needing inspection. The idea that a tiny group of Australians who self-identify as "indigenous" (when most of them are of mixed ethnic heritage) should be considered the "owners" of the whole land of Australia is a romantic fantasy. Nor does "the unique status of" our "indigenous people" mean that that tiny group should be privileged over the rest of us. This is so, regardless of any "wrongs of the past". No Australian living today is guilty of those wrongs. You brush away too easily the justified fear that the proposed voice would "fan divisions" and function as a "third chamber of Parliament." On the contrary, it is obvious that the proposal is really intended as a first step on the path to setting up a second nation on this continent. That is much more than a mere "symbolic gesture."
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic