Recognise campaign for constitutional recognition
The RACGP supports the Recognise campaign for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution. The campaign, which is governed by Reconciliation Australia, is spearheading the people’s movement for constitutional recognition. The Recognise campaign is recommending that Australians vote in a referendum to:
- Remove section 25 – which says the states can ban people from voting based on their race.
- Remove section 51(xxvi) – which can be used to pass laws that discriminate against people based on their race.
- Insert a new section 51A – to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to preserve the Australian Government’s ability to pass laws for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
- Insert a new section 116A, banning racial discrimination by government.
- Insert a new section 127A, recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were this country’s first tongues, while confirming that English is Australia’s national language.
It is widely known that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience a significant health gap when compared with non-Aboriginal Australians, primarily due to poverty, unemployment, social exclusion, poor housing and poor educational outcomes. There is also evidence that access to good health care is compromised. The purpose of constitutional recognition is to recognise Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and remove legal remnants of discrimination. According to the Lowitja Institute – Australia’s National Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Research, constitutional recognition will provide a sound foundation for addressing the social and economic determinants of health and wellbeing. The RACGP is also a member of the Lowitja Institute’s Health System Coalition for constitutional recognition.
Support of the move towards constitutional recognition would be a logical next step in terms of advocating for health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. RACGP key stakeholders including the Close the Gap coalition, the National Aboriginal and Community Controlled Health Organisation and the National Health Leadership Forum have also publicly indicated their support of constitutional recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
A date for the referendum is unknown, but it appears likely it will occur within the next three years.
For more information please visit:
Please contact RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on 1800 000 251 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you require further information or assistance.
To show your support for constitutional recognition, please visit: http://antar.org.au/petitions/recognition