It’s Our Country: Indigenous Arguments for Meaningful Constitutional Reform

May 16 / 181

Why shouldn’t Indigenous people have a direct say in the decisions that affect their lives? That is a topic being tackled by a new collection of essays from Melbourne University Press.

It’s Our Country: Indigenous Arguments for Meaningful Constitutional Recognition and Reform is sparking conversations about Indigenous recognition and reform. And with discussions of an upcoming referendum on the issue, the collection is timely.

Prominent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander thinkers and leaders have contributed to the collection, which was edited by the University of Melbourne’s Professor Marcia Langton and University of New South Wales’ Professor Megan Davis. Contributors include Patrick Dodson, Noel Pearson, Dawn Casey, Nyunggai Warren Mundine and Mick Mansell, among others.

Professor Davis and Professor Langton say each author tackles the issues in their own way, bringing a range of perspectives and views to the conversation. But they all agree that meaningful recognition is needed.

“When we asked people to contribute to this book, they came up with many different visions of what reform and recognition means to them,” Professor Davis told Radio National last week.

The editors think it is now urgent that Indigenous people have a say in the form of recognition that constitutional change might achieve. They say a referendum must be preceded by robust dialogue on the issue.

According to Professor Langton, so far there has not been a robust engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people.

“People are not having enough say in what the model might be,” Professor Langton says. “They want to use the opportunity offered by the referendum to do something that is actually going to make a difference – in communities and in people’s lives.”

For more information, listen to Professors Davis and Langton discuss the collection with Patricia Karvelas on Radio National.

It’s Our Country: Indigenous Arguments for Meaningful Constitutional Recognition and Reform is now available through Melbourne University Press in print and as an eBook, and where all good books are sold.

Story by Bridget O’Reilly.

 

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