For anyone who is aware of the history of the Aboriginal or indigenous communities of Australia over the last two centuries this latest piece of news from The Journal will come as no surprise:
“AUSTRALIA HAS SHELVED plans to hold a referendum on formally recognising the country’s Aborigines in the constitution, saying there was not enough public support for the move.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the vote as a “once in 50-year opportunity” when she first unveiled plans for the referendum in 2010, saying there was a rare moment of widespread public and parliamentary support.
Gillard had said the vote, which would have followed a historic 2008 government apology to Aboriginal Australians for wrongs committed since white settlement in 1788, could be held before or in conjunction with next year’s national elections.
But Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin said the plan had been shelved for two or three years due to a lack of community support, with the government instead set to pass a special “Act of Recognition”.
Macklin said the Act of Recognition would address the recommendations of an expert panel into the proposed referendum in the interim. They included recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s original inhabitants and acknowledging the need to secure the advancement of these groups, the nation’s most disadvantaged minority.”
However, Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott has already rejected the proposed legislation and though some have welcomed the move to postpone the referendum many Aboriginal activists believe that Australia will never recognise their status as the original inhabitants of the country.