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Bird, Greta; Kelly, Loretta --- "Women Speak Out: Critical Perspectives on the Preamble to the Constitution" [2000] AUJlHRights 13; (2000) 6(1) Australian Journal of Human Rights 265

Women speak out: critical perspectives on the preamble to the constitution[1]

Greta Bird and Loretta Kelly

Whereas the people of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania, humbly relying on the blessing of Almighty God, have agreed to unite in one indissoluble Federal Commonwealth under the Crown of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and under the Constitution hereby established:

And whereas it is expedient to provide for the admission into the Commonwealth of other Australasian colonies and possessions of the Queen:
Be it therefore enacted by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present [British] Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same as follows:-

A White Woman’s Voice

Howard has said the use of the word ‘custodianship’ to describe Aboriginal connections to the land could ‘lose him the support of middle Australia’ [The Australian, March 20-21, p1]

...the Aboriginal people of the continent came to be treated as a different and lower form of life whose very existence could be ignored...Mabo (no 2) 107 ALR 1 at p 82, per Deane and Gaudron JJ


In recent times the media has been saturated with Preambles. One of the most prominent and controversial has been the Prime Minister’s vision. Aided and abetted by the Queen’s poet[2], Les Murray, and with Professor Geoffrey Blainey’s imprimatur the Prime Minister has presented us with a poetic Preamble replete with ‘mateship’. The aim of the exercise is to ‘repatriate’ the Constitution in a minimalist fashion. No longer will the Preamble sound in the tones of nineteenth century British colonial writings. A new millenium will be ushered in with a fresh paean to nation. However as Dennis Shanahan writes in his article ‘The Getting of Arrogance’: ‘The (Howard) Preamble aims for inclusivity, but ...was hatched by an exclusive club’.[3] Those who may feel excluded include Indigenous peoples, women, people of diverse sexuality and people whose religious faith is ‘other’ than Christianity. A majority of citizens.

The People of the Constitution

The Australian Constitution was drafted by the ‘founding fathers’ on a boat trip up the Hawkesbury river.[4] These white, male, Christian, middle aged,[5] prosperous people created a Constitution in their image. The Preamble they drafted refers to a coming together of ‘the people’ to create a federation. However this central term is nowhere defined in the text. A close look at who constituted ‘the people’ at the time of federation is instructive. At that time only some women had the vote, so women could not be said to be part of ‘the people’. By section 127 Indigenous peoples were not to be counted as citizens. Section 127 provided: ‘In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a state or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted.’ Therefore they could not be said to be part of ‘the people’.[6] The Chinese (and other non English speaking background people) were not part of ‘the people’ either. Head taxes were imposed on the Chinese and only males from China were allowed to enter the colonies in order to prevent the Chinese breeding.[6] The first policy legislation of the new Commonwealth parliament was the Immigration Restriction Act, 1901. This law was designed to keep Australia white and politically conservative.[7] As Joske points out: ‘ ...the historical reason for including a provision in the Constitution [about race] was to give the Commonwealth authority to deal with the problem of Chinese and Kanaka labour, the restriction of which was one of the motivating causes of federation’.[8] In truth ‘the people’ was an exclusive group, remarkable more for those it cast outside of the polity than for those it included. This was and is a Preamble tainted with racism, sexism and xenophobia.[9]

The Birth of the Nation

The Constitution is on the face of it a prosaic document. A law of the British Parliament it makes no specific reference to our identity. Yet in that quiet text there is embedded our history of terra nullius, of racial discrimination and of sexism.

Australian myths construct the ‘birth’ of the nation, not with the unremarkable moment of federation in 1901, but rather at Gallopoli. There the blood of young Australian soldiers was spilt on foreign fields. This battle was needed to mature a people, who, so the story goes, had ‘peacefully settled’ an empty continent and gained an untroubled entry to nationhood. Further myths refer to the egalitarianism and ‘fair go’ ethos of the Australian people. A world away from the hierarchy and snobbery of mother England and her pallid sons were the tall, bronzed, athletic ANZACs born on Australian soil .

John Howard is a fervent admirer of the ANZAC legend and has referred disparagingly to the ‘black arm band’ view of history. A view which challenges peaceful settlement, egalitarianism and the ‘fair go’ and which points to the masculinism inherent in mateship. But is there a truth in the ‘black arm band’ story? If we are to write a Preamble that speaks of a shared history and a current identity as a nation[10]we need to acknowledge the reality of our history, to acknowledge the facts. The fact that the nation was only possible in its current form because of the spilt blood and raped bodies of Indigenous peoples. It is only through a denial of that reality that we can cling to the myth of the peacefully ‘settled’ nation, a myth that survives in spite of the Mabo story of ‘unutterable shame’.[11]

Women are not mentioned in the Constitution. At that time there were restrictions on women owning property, studying at Universtiy, being admitted to the professions or voting. Even after these legal impediments to citizenship were removed women have remained second class citizens.[12] The passage of anti discrimination legislation and affirmative action measures has left unchanged the basic structures of society. The lived experience of many women is of earning less than men, of being discriminated against in the workplace and of being sexually harassed, of being at risk of abuse from partners in the home and strangers outside. As Carol Pateman has argued: ‘...if women are to be citizens as women, as autonomous, equal, yet sexually different beings from men, democratic theory and practice has to undergo a radical transformation’..[13] Democracy must permeate the lives of all citizens, it is not something that can be achieved through simple processes such as universal suffrage. The denial of citizenship rights to Indigenous peoples is even more striking. Their very bodies were denied by section 127[14] of the Constitution. The big constitutional battles have been waged by white men of property. Even the rights implied in the Constitution by an activist court, such as the right to ‘free political speech’ was a judgment in favour of a large corporation about its powers to televise political advertisements and thereby increase its revenue.[15]

What is the Constitution About?

The Constitution is a text, a discourse, an agreement of ‘the people’. It it at once both a political document and the grundnorm or basic legal instrument. Its legitimacy can no longer rest on the lie (called by lawyers a ‘legal fiction’) of terra nullius. To frame legitimacy in these terms is to freeze the constitution in ‘an age of racial discrimination’[16]. Where does ‘sovereignty’ now reside? Are Indigenous peoples part of the polity or are they still colonised? Are women part of the polity? Given their poverty and unequal wages can they be described as full citizens? Are women ‘formally’ equal but unequal in political and social life? Do women have full citizenship rights or are their bodies surveilled and disciplined in ways that make them second class citizens at best? Are gays part of the people/ Do we the people have rights to sexual privacy? Is the Constitution a document that puts power in the hands of ‘the people’ who in theory give it legitimacy? If not where does it locate power? These are crucial questions as we contemplate a new Preamble and broader Constitutional change.

The Preamble, indeed the whole Constitution, has been written in the blood of Indigenous peoples. This reality was put judicially be the High Court in the Mabo Case by Brennan J who said: ‘Their dispossession underwrote the development of the nation’.[17]

A New Preamble

The drafting of a Preamble has aroused a great deal of passion. Why is this the case? Preambles after all are not legally binding. I imagine we are passionate about the Preamble because our Constitution lacks a Bill of Rights and those many of us who would like to see statements of ‘equality’ in the text recognise in the Preamble a chance to set the scene for a changed Constitution.

The People’s Spirituality

I am a person brought up in an Irish Catholic milieu. Used to living ‘in the sight of the Christian God’, accustomed to the reference to God in the Preamble to the Constitution, at the opening of Parliament and so forth. However as I have grown I have become aware of the diversity of spiritual expression in this country. The God of the Constitution is very much a Christian God, even more precisely He is the Anglican God. Queen Elizabeth is both the Head of the Australian state and the United Kingdom and also Defender of the (Anglican) Faith. The centrality of the Church of England God to the United Kingdom government may be appropriate; for example the Bishops of the Church of England form the Lords Spiritual of the Preamble. However the theoretical separation of Church and state in Australia, the section 116 ‘rights’ to religious freedom[18] and the consensus in the major parties and the electorate that Australia is a multicultural (and therefore multi religious) nation points to the inappropriateness of the Anglican god in the Preamble. Justice Lionel Murphy said in Onus v Alcoa ‘“Western European Judeo-Christian culture” if there is such a culture, has no privileged status in our courts.’.[19] And if not in the courts then why in the Constitution?

The Preamble in my view ought to express ‘the people’s’ spirituality, but this does not require a reference to the Anglican god.


Unity can take many forms. It can involve the one federation of ‘equal’ states and territories, and it could involve independent or autonomous territories like Norfolk Island. There is no reason why, after a treaty with Indigenous peoples, the commonwealth could not contain an area such as the Torres Strait Islands or the Kimberleys or the Pitjatjantjarra lands that are autonomous; Indigenous lands which, like the states and territories have with their own forms of government, and administer laws for the ‘peace, order and good government’ of that area. The Preamble could refer to the ‘people’ in the states, territories, and the Indigenous First Nation territories or ‘country’. There are precedents for this sharing of power in western democracies such as Canada, the United States of America and New Zealand.[20]

The Nature of the Preamble

The Preamble may not have a direct influence on the interpretation of provisions of the Constitution. However it is an expression of ourselves as a nation. In 2001 we are different than in 1901. We have more awareness of sexism and racism and of the meaning of full citizenship. We know the statistics, women earn less than men, women have less power in the public arena than men, women suffer disproportionately in terms of rape and domestic violence. And we know the appalling statistics about Indigenous peoples.

Construction of the Preamble

The first Preamble was written by powerful, white, middle-aged males. The second as discussed above has been drafted principally by the Prime Minister, John Howard, with input from poet Les Murray and historian Professor Geoffrey Blainey. How far have we come in 100 years!

John Howard does not want to ‘lose’ middle Australia.[21] But writing a Preamble is about leadership. Leadership is about inclusiveness, about the margins as much as the centre, about visions of nation. It is not about fortress suburbia, white picket fences and the security alarm.

What does this white woman want?

What do I want? Is this a question that can be answered in the rush of referendum? The process of finding out is one that requires a long lead time Is the Preamble so intimately connected to the nation that it must emerge from the process of dealing with our failings over the past 100 years? The Mabo decision has pulled away the basis of sovereignty, that is terra nullius. We are now left with ‘an act of state’, that is political and military power, as the basis of the nation. We need for our self respect and to heal the nation to have a new basis for sovereignty. That can be provided through ‘the people’ coming together. However that must be an inclusive people. This means paying particular attention to bringing in Indigenous peoples to the extent they desire this, and non English speaking background Australians and women. And doing that ideally means a process for having all of ‘the people’ as full citizens. Taking away the factors that mean disempowerment in public life and often in the private sphere too.

Voice of a black woman: an Indigenous perspective on the preamble[22]

The essence of the preamble debate: Indigenous participation

It is essential that Indigenous people participate in the constitutional, and concomitant political, debate to ensure that Indigenous voices are heard. Otherwise we risk the marginalisation of our voices as occurred during the drafting of the Constitution in the late 1800s. Indeed the need for Indigenous community consultation and participation in the political process is a theme throughout this section of the paper.

I will briefly examine the draft preamble and its reference to Indigenous people, in particular the failure of the Prime Minister to incorporate into the draft preamble the views of Indigenous people. I will also consider the likely impact of this on the process of reconciliation.

To introduce my perspective I wish to borrow the words of another Indigenous woman, Dr Lowitja (Lois) O’Donoghue (former ATSIC[23] Chairperson): “... I come as an Aboriginal person and a woman. There are too few of us in either category in positions to influence the processes of government in this country.”[24] This does not imply a defeatist attitude. Rather it illustrates a reality that we must seek to change.

A recap on history

Indigenous people have historically been marginalised in all areas of government and public life. It is only recently that Indigenous voices are being heard - in particular in relation to the native title debate of 1998. A century ago the Australian people participated in a debate about creating a nation which resulted in the Australian Constitution.[25] No one could deny the complete absence of Indigenous people in the drafting process of the preamble to our current Constitution In drawing up the constitution in the 1880s the founding fathers saw no reason to include Indigenous people in their deliberations.[26] In NSW, this was the era of segregation – government policy was aimed at ‘smoothing the dying pillow of the natives’ – so there was presumably no need to include us in the process of framing the constitution.

At the time of federation various legislative provisions placed qualifications on Indigenous people’s right to vote.[27] Therefore not only was there an absence of Indigenous contribution to the substance of the constitution, but in addition there were few (if any) Indigenous people who voted on the acceptance of federation.

The preamble to the Constitution refers to ‘the people,’ yet during the time of federation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were not considered part of the people. According to s 127 of the Constitution, Aborigines could not be counted in a census of the population of the Commonwealth or the States. Furthermore, section 51(xxvi) expressly denied the Commonwealth legislative powers in respect of Aboriginal people. Although these racist provisions were removed by the 1967 referendum, s 25 still remains, which enables States to discriminate against citizens on the basis of their race.[28] The right to vote is the most basic political right. Therefore section 25 of the constitution, which anticipates the disqualification of persons of a particular race from voting, must be deleted.[29]

Are Indigenous people part of the Australian people?

The draft preamble released by John Howard concludes as follows: “In this spirit we, the Australian people, commit ourselves to this constitution.” At the time of Federation, white people did not consider us as part of ‘the people’ – that view has (I hope) now changed. The issue now is whether Indigenous people consider ourselves as a part of ‘the Australian people’.

Of course Indigenous Australians are not an homogenous people, and so it is difficult to provide a generalised response. We are a diverse people and have been for thousands of years. Prior to colonisation, Australia had over 500 different language groups. Our experiences of invasion, dispossession and assimilation differ - although there are experiences that are strikingly similar amongst Indigenous people across Australia, and indeed amongst colonised peoples around the world.

Within Indigenous communities throughout Australia, there are differing views on every subject, therefore it is inappropriate to ask for the Indigenous view on a particular issue (just as views differ amongst non-Indigenous people). I can only provide my view as one Indigenous woman, and raise the views of a number of Indigenous leaders who have spoken out about this issue.

In reference to the preamble to the Constitution, I believe that in order for Indigenous people to be considered part of ‘the Australian people’, the preamble must recognise our unique status as the first Australians and recognise our continuing rights as the Indigenous people of this land. At the referendum (scheduled for November this year), I will not say ‘yes‘ to a preamble that falls short of this

We have distinct justifiable claims to land rights and self-determination.[31] We need recognition as the unconquered Indigenous people of Australia whose territory was never ceded. [32] Our consent was never obtained for dispossession and marginalisation.

Therefore a preamble to the Constitution must include recognition of our rights as Indigenous people.

Some may argue that these are sovereign rights that we have as a sovereign people of this continent.[33] Presumably the advocates of Indigenous sovereignty do not want to be considered as part of ‘the people’– but rather as a sovereign people unto themselves. Some may argue that a new preamble will never be sufficient without the formal process of negotiating a treaty.[34] This paper cannot do justice to the issue of Indigenous sovereignty and treaty processes. However, this time around as we move towards the renewal of the nation, we need to consider the people from whom the constitution draws its authority.[35] If Indigenous people are part of the ‘Australian people’, committing ourselves to the constitution, then our views must be listened to and taken into account.

The preamble to the Constitution must reflect our status as not just the first Australians, but as the Indigenous people “with continuous rights by virtue of that status”.[36] If we were to accept this as the minimal recognition required in the preamble, and this were indeed to form part of a new preamble, would this have any practical effect on the social and political life of Indigenous people? The answer may lie in the importance we attach to the preamble.

The importance of a preamble

Many commentators consider the preamble to be at least of symbolic value. Cheryl Saunders commented at the 1997 Australian Reconciliation Convention that the preamble has symbolic significance but is unlikely to have any legal effect..[37] This does not mean that it is unimportant. George Winterton points out that: “[c]onstitutional preambles reflect the idiosyncrasies of national political culture...”[38] Pat O’Shane was an Indigenous delegate at the Constitutional Convention. She commented during the proceedings that:

There is nothing in the Constitution implied or otherwise about who we are as a nation and what our aspirations are. There is nothing in the constitution that makes reference to our true history of Australia, including our indigenous heritage.”[39]

There were 7 Indigenous delegates at the Constitutional Convention,[40] which is better than the turn out at the constitutional conventions in the 1800s!

The Constitutional Convention held that the preamble to the constitution should contain:

During the proceedings of the Convention, Gatjil Djerrkurra (current ATSIC chairperson) stated that the ATSIC board would support a new preamble that recognises:

... the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the indigenous people of Australia. It should indicate a respect for the land and Indigenous cultural heritage, and commitment to justice and equity for all.[42]

The draft preamble released by the Prime Minister of Australia does not reflect this view.

The draft preamble

The draft preamble states in part that: “[s]ince time immemorial our land has been inhabited by Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders, who are honoured for their ancient and continuing cultures.”[43] Surely the Indigenous people of Australia deserve more than this weak recognition of prior occupation as suggested by John Howard? Not surprisingly, Howard’s draft preamble has been rejected by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders. They have argued that the draft preamble is “divisive and insulting” and is entirely predictable in its failure to acknowledge Indigenous Australians as original land owners.[44]

Peter Yu, executive director of the Kimberley Land Council, said that the draft has “further alienated Indigenous Australians and should read something like ‘God help us’.”[45] Yu argues that the wording ignores Indigenous land rights recognised in the Mabo decision and attempts to reinforce the doctrine of terra nullius.[46]

The draft preamble’s failure to explicitly recognise Indigenous land ownership or custodianship prior to settlement implicitly reinforces the doctrine of terra nullius. Lowitja (Lois) O’Donoghue has referred to it as “[a] gutless preamble to the Constitution which merely acknowledges the indisputable fact that we were here first.[47]

Despite the criticisms Howard has received from various groups, he does not appear willing to negotiate on this issue. His ‘like it or lump it’ attitude, as illustrated by the following quote, is disappointing to say the least::

Isn’t it better for those who want the Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders recognised to have something rather than to have nothing at all? Because that is what will happen.[48]

Unfortunately this sounds a little like the mission manager giving the blacks an extra bit of sugar and wanting us to show our appreciation for his generosity. His statement demonstrates a lack of commitment to consultation with Indigenous people; he should have been negotiating in good faith and consulting widely. Indeed this was an opportunity to demonstrate a real commitment to reconciliation.

The preamble as an opportunity for reconciliation

The preamble to the Constitution could have had an important role in the process of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Gatjil Djerrkurra stated during the proceedings of the Constitutional Convention that: “[w]e are looking to a new vision, a new direction, a new commitment that will bring out the spirit of the Australian nation united in reconciliation.”[49]

The failure of John Howard to incorporate Indigenous views in the preamble has actually undermined reconciliation by demonstrating an unwillingness to reassess the relationship between black and white Australia. As Lowitja (Lois) O’Donoghue said, the draft preamble is “yet another blow to reconciliation.”[50]

Indigenous participation

Another question that should be addressed is: how can a people who are socio-economically disadvantaged, and who continue to suffer discrimination, fully participate in the constitutional debate?

One way is for the government to make a firm commitment to consultation with Indigenous people. During the Constitutional Convention, the Working Group on the Recognition of Indigenous People in the Preamble resolved that:

... there be wide community consultation and negotiations with ATSIC and other relevant bodies to reach an agreement on the wording of the preamble BEFORE it is put to the people.[51]

As we now know, this did not occur. So where do we go from here? David Curtis, an Indigenous delegate to the Constitutional Convention from the Northern Territory, stated that “...people must be assisted with educational and informational materials to help them participate in the process in a meaningful way.”[52] It is not too late for this process to take place.

Conclusion: voices for reconciliation

We need more Indigenous people in positions to influence the process of government in this country. We also need a real commitment to the process of reconciliation. It is by adopting this spirit of reconciliation that we believe we can begin to see fundamental changes to the profound socio-economic disadvantage suffered by Indigenous people.

The Preamble as it stands covers up the past. The history of ‘unutterable shame’.[53] Without a recognition of that past we cannot heal. We ‘remain diminished’ as a nation ‘unless and until there is an acknowledgment of, and retreat from, ...past injustices’.’[54]. A good starting is Paul Keating’s ‘Redfern Speech’, this seeks to ‘bring the dispossessed out of the shadows’.[55] The Preamble does not mention the equality of women, indeed it erases women. The Preamble does not refer to the nation as part of the international community. There is no reference to the equality treaties or the other human rights instruments to which we are a party. We are no longer ‘fortress Australia’ and yet our Constitution, our most important document, is a document of exclusion. We ‘the people’ want more. We call for a document of reconciliation.

[1] This article is based on papers presented by Greta Bird and Loretta Kelly at the Symposium on Women, the Constitution and Political Participation held at Southern Cross University, Lismore on 17 April 1999. Greta Bird is an associate professor and Loretta Kelly an associate lecturer in the School of Law and Justice at Southern Cross University.

[2] See The Weekend Australian June 5-6, p 1 for a photograph of Les Murray with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the second. The title of the article by James Hall is ‘Les Majesty: thank God he met Lizzie’. The article describes the award to Les Murray of the Queen’s medal for poetry.

[3] Dennis Shanahan, ‘The Getting of Arrogance’, The Weekend Australian, March 27-28, 1999.

[4] For an excellent discussion of the framing of the Constitution see Michael Coper, (1988) Encounters with the Australian Constitution’, (1987) CCH Australia Ltd, North Ryde, p65. Coper discusses the three-day cruise from 27-29 March, 1891.

[5] Michael Coper, ibid p63 points out that the group of men had an average age of 53.[]

[6] For a discussion of colonial laws designed to discriminate against the Chinese see I F McLaren, (1985) The Chinese in Victoria: Official Reports and Documents, Red Rooster Press, Ascot Vale.

[7] The dictation test in a European language was used in such a way to prevent the entry into Australia of political dissidents.

[8] Joske (1967) quoted in R D Lumb and G A Moens (Fifth Edition) The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia Annotated, (1995) Butterwrths, North Ryde, p216.

[9] There is still a ‘moral panic’ over the ‘yellow hordes’, with around 50 missing Chinese in business suits who arrived illegally in Coffs Harbor causing a media frenzy. Illegal immigrants working picking tomatoes in Victoria have been roped up like dogs and Australia’s record of imprisoning ‘illegals’ and locking them up for years in harsh places like Port Headland is well known. We are a people who, in spite of our rhetoric about our ‘laidback’ nature, are in the business of ‘exclusion’.

[10] For a white perspective see for example Frank Brennan,(1991) Sharing the Country, Penguin Books, Ringwood.

[11] See the majority jugment in Mabo (No 2) (1992) 107 ALR 1 which accepts Australia as a settled nation in spite of the repudiation of the doctrine of ‘terra nullius’.

[12] See Margaret Thornton, (1997) Dissonance and Distrust, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.

[13] See Carol Pateman,(1989) The Disorder of Women, Polity Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom, at p 14.

[14] Section 127 was later repealed at a referendum in 1967 and no longer forms part of the Constitution.

[15] See Australian Capital Television Pty Ltd v Commonwealth [1992] HCA 45; (1992) 177 CLR 106.

[16] Mabo [No 2] (1992) 107 Alr 1 at p 28, per Brennan J.

[17] Mabo (No 2) (1992) 107 ALR 1 at p 50 per Brennan J.

[18] The section 116 ‘rights’ to religious freedom have been interpreted in a black letter, that is narrowly technical fashion. The section awaits a progressive interpretation suitable for a multicultural society.

[19] Onus v Alcoa [1981] HCA 50; (1981) 149 CLR 27, Murphy J at p 46.

[20] The Preamble itself envisages the entry of new state and territories and Western Australia joined the Commonwealth after passage of the Bill but before it received Royal assent.

[21] See Dennis Shanahan, ‘The Getting of Arrogance’, op cit.

[22] Loretta Kelly is an Indigenous woman from the Gumbayngirri and Dungutti language groups of the midnorth coast of NSW (located in the region between Kempsey and Grafton. Loretta wishes to thank Antony Barac for his editorial assistance.

[23] Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.

[24] O’Donoghue L, “The Constitutional Convention 2 February – 13 February 1998: Indigenous words from Old Parliament House” [1998] IndigLawB 28; (1998) 4(10) Indigenous Law Bulletin 16 at 16.

[25] Pritchard S, ‘Australian Reconciliation Convention 1997: Documents of Reconciliation and Constitutional Issues – An Australian Bill of Rights’ <> (10 April 1999) at 1.

[26] Pritchard S, ‘Australian Reconciliation Convention 1997: Documents of Reconciliation and Constitutional Issues – An Australian Bill of Rights’ <> (10 April 1999) at 2.

[27] Pritchard S, ‘Australian Reconciliation Convention 1997: Documents of Reconciliation and Constitutional Issues – An Australian Bill of Rights’ <> (10 April 1999) at 2.

[28] Brennan F, ‘Race, the Constitution and Reconciliation’ (Strategies Against Racism Forum: Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales) 16 June 1997 <> (10 April 1999) at 3.

[29] 30 Pritchard S, ‘Australian Reconciliation Convention 1997: Documents of Reconciliation and Constitutional Issues – An Australian Bill of Rights’ <> (10 April 1999) at 7.

[31] Brennan F, ‘Race, the Constitution and Reconciliation’ (Strategies Against Racism Forum: Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales) 16 June 1997 <> (10 April 1999) at 7.

[32] Brennan F, ‘Race, the Constitution and Reconciliation’ (Strategies Against Racism Forum: Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales) 16 June 1997 <> (10 April 1999) at 1.

[33] For example, the Aboriginal Provisional Government. For an overview, see Kelly L, ‘Reconciliation and the implications for a sovereign Aboriginal nation’ (1993) 3(61) Indigenous Law Bulletin 10.

[34] For an overview, see Kelly L, ‘Reconciliation and the implications for a sovereign Aboriginal nation’ (1993) 3(61) Indigenous Law Bulletin 10.

[35] Pritchard S, ‘Australian Reconciliation Convention 1997: Documents of Reconciliation and Constitutional Issues – An Australian Bill of Rights’ <> (10 April 1999) at 2.

[36] O’Donoghue L, quoted in Winterton G, ‘A New Constitutional Preamble’ (1997) 8 Public Law Review 186 at192.

[37] Saunders C, ‘Reconciliation and Constitutional Issues: An Australian Constitution’ (Australian Reconciliation Convention) <> (10 April 1999) at 4.

[38] Winterton G, ‘A New Constitutional Preamble’ (1997) 8 Public Law Review 186 at 186.

[39] O’Shane P, “The Constitutional Convention 2 February – 13 February 1998: Indigenous words from Old Parliament House” [1998] IndigLawB 28; (1998) 4(10) Indigenous Law Bulletin 16 at 16. The Constitutional Convention met in Canberra in February 1998 to consider 3 questions in relation to the republic. The convention was constituted by 152 delegates: see “Recent Documents: Final Resolutions of the Constitutional Convention, Canberra, 2-13 February 1998” (1998) 9 Public Law Review 55.

[40] “The Constitutional Convention 2 February – 13 February 1998: Indigenous words from Old Parliament House” [1998] IndigLawB 28; (1998) 4(10) Indigenous Law Bulletin 16 at 16

[41] “Recent Documents: Final Resolutions of the Constitutional Convention, Canberra, 2-13 February 1998” (1998) 9 Public Law Review 55 at 57.

[42] Djerrkura G, “The Constitutional Convention 2 February – 13 February 1998: Indigenous words from Old Parliament House” [1998] IndigLawB 28; (1998) 4(10) Indigenous Law Bulletin 16 at 16.

[43] “Draft Preamble to the Constitution” 23 March 1999 <> (10 April 1999) at 1.

[44] Saunders M, ‘Aborigines “insulted” by PM’s draft’ 21 February 1999 <> (10 April 1999) at 1.

[45] Saunders M, ‘Aborigines “insulted” by PM’s draft’ 21 February 1999 <> (10 April 1999) at 1

[46] Saunders M, ‘Aborigines “insulted” by PM’s draft’ 21 February 1999 <> (10 April 1999) at 1

[47] MacDonald J, ‘PM a wrecker, says Aboriginal leader’ 28 March 1999 <> (10 April 1999) at 1.

[48] Greene G, ‘Howard pressure on preamble: like it or lump it’ 27 March 1999 <> (10 April 1999) at 1.

[49] Djerrkura G, “The Constitutional Convention 2 February – 13 February 1998: Indigenous words from Old Parliament House” [1998] IndigLawB 28; (1998) 4(10) Indigenous Law Bulletin 16 at 16.

[50] Saunders M, ‘Aborigines “insulted” by PM’s draft’ 21 February 1999 <> (10 April 1999) at 2.

[51] “Report of the Constitutional Convention: Vol 2” 2-13 February 1998, Old Parliament House, Canberra, Commonwealth of Australia at 168.

[52] Curtis D, “The Constitutional Convention 2 February – 13 February 1998: Indigenous words from Old Parliament House” [1998] IndigLawB 28; (1998) 4(10) Indigenous Law Bulletin 16 at 16

[53] Mabo (No 2) (1992) 107 ALR 1 at p 79.

[54] Mabo [No 2] (1992) 107 ALR I at p 82.

[55] Paul Keating, (1992) ‘They Are Part of Us’, The Age, December, 11.

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