*Yulara Statement - 'Recognition' explained

*Yulara Statement - 'Recognition' explained

* Uluru Statement of the Heart - renamed due to Referendum Council not having permission to use the word Uluru.

Video and Text by Jessica Savage

Recognition was not ditched with the "R" campaign, it's alive and well after the issue of the Uluru Statement. Australians and Indigenous alike are being deceived. Recognition in the Constitution's preamble is part of the current reforms, and is a massive danger to Aboriginal Sovereign rights. The following is an abbreviated transcript for the video at https://vimeo.com/307947996 The original video is a powerpoint-style presentation with voice-over. This video is about post-Yulara, Constitutional Recognition and is part 3 of a series. The first two videos of this series were "First Nations Voice to Parliament - Explained" and "Makarrata - Explained".

COMMON ARGUMENT AGAINST RECOGNITION

 
Now I have heard quite a few times from sovereignty activists, this idea that constitutional recognition is a danger because it is consent to be governed. Some Sovereignty activists say, the danger is, that if we consent to a modification of the race power, that we consent to being governed. The thing that's never sat well in my mind about this argument, is when you think about what was attempted in the 1999 referendum. The 1999 referendum was simply - a preamble change, plus republic. Nothing to do with the race power or head of power to make laws for Aboriginal peoples. If a head of power change was needed to acheive the goals of the colony, why wasn't it included in the 1999 referendum? There must be something special about recognising Aboriginal peoples in the preamble of the constitution that Australia needs. They tried it in 1999, and have been trying it ever since. They have been very consistent on this, inclusion in the preamble. But why?

THE CONSTITUTION

 
Before we talk about recognition in "the constitution", I want to clarify what "the constitution" is. There is a document called the "Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia". But there is also the "Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Imp)", which is an act of British Parliament. Normally, when someone talks about "the constitution", they are talking about this one - the "Constitution of the Commonwealth of Australia". These two documents are nested. First, the Imperial act, in brown. Now that is the overall document and it refers to the inside document in blue. The BLUE, inside document is what is normally referred to when someone says "the constitution". The inside "Constitution", in blue, needs a referendum to change. Now... The preamble to the Australian Constitution is here, in the "Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act 1900 (Imp)". If you want to include Aboriginal peoples in "the preamble", this brown document is what has to be modified. This is modified under a different process, not under a referendum. Only the blue document needs a referendum to change. To see through the colonial deception, it's important to understand this, and it's important to know that the Preamble of the constitution is in the Imperial document, it's not in "the constitution".

WHAT'S IT TYPICALLY FOR?

 
Countries have constitutions. These constitutions have preambles. Among other things, such as a general introduction to the document to identify what the document is, who it's about, ideals of the country, and what the document contains, one important thing preambles of constitutions typically specify is the source of authority of the entire document! Let's look at an example. The classic example is in the US: We the people. This means - that the people, are the authority behind this document. Let's look at Australian preamble - it acts under the authority of the Queen and under God! So, to challenge the Authority of Australia is not only challenging the Queen, it's challenging God! We are in a Holy war! And our Dreaming predates God by, maybe a factor of 10. Anyway, if they want to use aboriginal sovereignty as their basis of power, ideally they will want to have recognition of aboriginal people in their preamble. Then, along with the consent of the Aboriginal peoples, Aboriginal sovereignty will be able to form the basis of authority for the whole federation. Note also, all the States have already recognised First Nations in their preambles. This is why the colony wants to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution! So they can recognise First Nations as the basis of their authority! It's that simple!

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN AUSTRALIA BECOMES A REPUBLIC?

 
When Australia becomes a republic, the Queen will relinquish her power. The very, very, important question is - to WHOM does she relinquish her power?

INSIDE OR OUTSIDE THE CONSTITUTION

 
If someone, the referendum council perhaps... talks about having a statement inside or outside the constitution... There is a big Gotcha to be aware of. Because, remember, the preamble is outside the constitution, in the imperial act. "Outside the constitution", could be sneaky lawyer code for - IN the constitutional preamble.

HOW TO CHANGE THE PREAMBLE

 
I said before, you don't need a referendum to change the preamble, because it's in a British act. So - How do you change it? You need - to hack it. The preamble is in the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution Act, the part of the Australian constitution that is in England. But, there is both the Australia Acts and the Westminster Statutes both preventing Australia and Britain interfering with other business. These laws make changing the preamble like getting into a bank vault, there is a very specific procedure that is needed.

• Short video section showing paper from Australian Indigenous Law Review ---
Twomey, Anne "The Preamble and Indigenous Recognition" [2011] AUIndigLawRw 15; (2011) 15(2) Australian Indigenous Law Review 4
• Short video section showing an excerpt of the Referendum Council Report ---
Final Report of the Referendum Council, 30 June 2017
• Parliament Report: Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Final Report (pdf) November 2018

 
It looks to me, like the Referendum Council are proposing to modify the preamble of the Constitution.

Or maybe it's just a coincidence? They want to do a symbolic act, and that act just so happens to look the same as this very specific procedure to change the preamble.

Watch the Full Video (above) to see why, and judge for yourself.

MORE RELATED VIDEOS BY JESSICA SAVAGE

 
Recognition ExplainedMakarrata Explained