It is now time for Australians to vote in a Referendum that embeds the basic principles of the Uluru Statement into the Constitution of Australia.
This historic milestone must not be delayed beyond this year and, as the Prime Minister has affirmed that his government is ready to pass legislation enabling the Referendum to be held, it is highly possible to achieve this.
As my contribution to the debate, here is wording I believe should be voted into the Constitution as Section 129, with the heading FIRST AUSTRALIANS.
*An Assembly will be established called FIRST AUSTRALIANS, in acknowledgement of the heritage of the oldest culture in the world.
*be elected by a democratic vote of indigenous persons managed by the Australian Electoral Commission.
*consist of not more than 50 members who shall serve five year terms.
*formulate policies relating to the livelihood of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and present these to Parliament annually.
Parliament shall have
*no obligation to approve the recommended policies, but shall debate them and formally convey responses to the Assembly within one year.
*powers to make laws relating to the functions and procedures of the Assembly.
Let me have your thoughts on how these words can be improved.
In doing so, I suggest you note these thoughts.
I have used the least possible number of words as the more words that are used the more doubts can be created in the minds of voters by opponents who see words as an opportunity to nitpick.
I am aware that significant leaders of indigenous communities would like the name of the Assembly to be FIRST NATIONS VOICE but I have the firm view that this will cause the referendum to fail as many Australians will feel that it recognises indigenous people as a separate nation.
The Constitution states that to gain approval, a Referendum must not only gain a nationwide majority of votes for YES, voters in four out of 6 States must vote YES. This is a huge task and I hope that you will join me in working for its achievement.
It is important that FIRST AUSTRALIANS is part of the Constitution rather than it being created by an Act of Parliament as that can be amended or removed by a subsequent government.
As this year is the 30th anniversary of the Mabo decision of the High Court to recognise the land rights of Indigenous Australians, it is fitting that Australia now takes this next step forward in continuing to achieve a just society.
Written with a genuine sense of history in the making.
PS. Read my book DINNER WITH THE FOUNDING FATHERS to discover why aborigines, as they were then called, were omitted from the Australian Constitution.
Click on Books.