Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
UnitingCare Health and its hospitals, as part of UnitingCare Queensland, believe we should recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution. We have made commitments to reconciliation through our Reconciliation Action Plan and believe that supporting the Recognise Campaign is an important step in reconciling our past. It’s the right thing to do.
Submit your details to Recognise below to join over 200 000 Australians from all walks of life who have already declared their support to recognise the first Australians in our founding document.
What does Constitutional Recognition mean?
- Australia’s Constitution was written more than a century ago. At that time, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples had lived here for more than 40 000 years, keeping alive the world’s oldest continuous cultures. But Australia’s Constitution did not recognise that part of our history. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were mentioned but only to discriminate. Until 1967, Indigenous Australians were not included in the population census.
- Part of Australia’s national identity is a belief in fairness, but our highest legal document does not mention Australia’s Indigenous people. In addition, the Constitution gives state governments the power to discriminate against groups of Australians based on race.
- Survey results from ABC’s Vote Compass in September 2013 showed that 70 per cent of respondents drawn from across the political spectrum support constitutional recognition. Major Auspol Surveys in 2012 and 2013 reinforce that three in four Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people support recognition.
- The Constitution can only be changed if people support change through a referendum. No date has been set but governments have committed to one in the near future.
What is the Recognise Campaign?
- The campaign is an initiative of Reconciliation Australia and has been funded by the Australian Government and private sources to raise awareness and build community support for Constitutional recognition. UnitingJustice Australia represents the Uniting Church on the Recognise Campaign’s NGO Steering Committee.
- CEO Anne Cross endorsed the Recognise Statement and UnitingCare Queensland became an official and publically acknowledged campaign partner. UnitingCare Queensland launched Recognise across the organisation in Brisbane, Cairns and the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday 29 October, 2014.
- The campaign is focused on increasing awareness about the need for constitutional recognition and is encouraging people to vote “yes” in the Referendum. To date over 220 000 people have signed the recognition pledge.
- One way the campaign is increasing awareness is through the ‘Journey to Recognition’ which started in 2013 and involves small groups of campaigners in cars, bikes, buses and even kayaks taking the Recognise message around the country.
- The ‘Journey to Recognition’ brings people together for BBQs and morning teas at town halls, community centres and schools and is making its way from north and western Queensland down to the south east until December 2014. See where the ‘Journey to Recognition’ is headed at recognise.org.au/thejourney.