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Indigenous Law Bulletin

Indigenous Law Bulletin
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Editors --- "Stirrings: The Constitutional Convention 2 February - 13 February 1998: Indigenous words from Old Parliament House" [1998] IndigLawB 28; (1998) 4(10) Indigenous Law Bulletin 16

Stirrings: The Constitutional Convention 2 February - 13 February 1998: Indigenous words from Old Parliament House

...the (ATSIC) board supports the adoption of a new preamble to the Constitution that sets down principles for representative and responsible government that is inclusive of all its people. A new preamble should acknowledge the diversity of its people and recognise the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the indigenous people of Australia. It should indicate a respect for the land and indigenous cultural heritage, and a commitment to justice and equity for all.
Gatjil Djerrkura, 2/2/98, p31

Whether Australia becomes a republic is no longer the question. It has been decided.
Pat O'Shane, 3/2/98, p114

I am a proud republican and 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.
Lois O'Donoghue, 3/2/98, p70

...people must be assisted with educational and informational materials to help them participate in the process in a meaningful way.
David Curtis, 11/2/98, p519

I cannot see the need for change, I cannot see how it will help my people. I cannot see how it will resolve the question of land and access to land that troubles us.
Neville Bonner, 3/2/98, p178

We 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.
Gatjil Djerrkura, 9/2/98, p335

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 the true history of Australia, including our indigenous heritage.
Pat O'Shane, 9/2/98, p328

My responsibilities are more than 60,000 years old. That is a lot of tradition to maintain.
Nova Peris-Kneebone, 11/2/98, p505

We have carried the brunt of all the faults that are intrinsic in the existing system.... The dispossession of Aboriginal land has been one of the great achievements of our system of federated colonies.
Lois O'Donoghue, 3/2/98, pp170-171

We are not afraid of change, provided we see an advantage to the people.
George Mye, 2/2/98

The seven Indigenous delegates to the Constitutional Convention were:
Pat O'Shane, NSW A Just Republic
David Curtis, NT A Just Republic
Gatjil Djerrkura, NT Non-Parliamentary Appointee
Lois O'Donoghue, SA Non-Parliamentary Appointee
Nova Peris-Kneebone, NT/WA Non-Parliamentary Appointee
Neville Bonner, QLD No Republic
George Mye, QLD/NT Non-Parliamentary Appointee

Indigenous delegates at the Constitutional Convention 1998 : (clockwise) Pat O'Shane, David Curtis, Gatjil Djerrkura, George Mye, Neville Bonner, Lois O'Donoghue

Reference: Transcript of Proceedings (Hansard)

Thanks to George Winterton and Natasha Case.

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