Burney calls for constitutional reform

19 May 2017

We need to remind the community that this discrimination is not ancient history, that this discrimination is still permitted by our constitution and that this fight is not over.

The Hon Linda Burney MP has used a speech at ANU reflecting on 50 years since the 1967 Referendum to support the call for constitutional reform to recognise Indigenous Australians.

Ms Burney, who is the first Aboriginal woman to serve in the House of Representatives, spoke of the need for a national compact which recognises and acknowledges our true history.

"Recognition will need to be owned by all of us - it will be an opportunity for all of us to take ownership of the very real history of discrimination, but also of the incredible story that is the oldest living culture on earth," she said.

"The 1967 referendum was about having the status of Aboriginal people formally recognised as much as it was about having the Australian community vote on it." 

Ms Burney said more than 90 per cent of Australia voted yes in 1967 referendum.

"It was as close a moment of national unity as anyone could hope for," she said.

"Decades on from that vote, we need to remind the community that this discrimination is not ancient history, that this discrimination is still permitted by our constitution and that this fight is not over.

"We will soon vote again I hope to see the Australia's First People recognised in our national birth certificate.

"If we succeed it will be a momentous moment of truth telling and will be crucial in achieving."

The public address was part of recognising the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the University's celebrations for this year's Reconciliation Week.

View Linda's lecture here.