Aboriginal Leaders Reject Symbolic Recognition in the Australian Constitution, Instead Demand Their Land Back*
By David Love
May 27 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Australian Referendum, in which Australians voted to include Black people — known as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people — in the national census and to allow the government to make laws for them. For the first time, Black Australians were counted as human beings. Only in 2008 did the government issue a formal apology for the injustices committed against Aborigines. Half a century later, there has been an effort by the Australian government to push for a new referendum, one to amend the constitution to officially recognize indigenous peoples. Rejecting a constitutional reform process perceived as being for the benefit of whites, Black leaders called instead for a treaty, a representative body and a truth and justice commission.
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