Here’s the part that continues to shock: Aboriginal people have lived on this land for more than 60,000 years, yet are still not specifically mentioned in the constitution. In addition, Australia is the world’s only Commonwealth nation – besides Fiji and Botswana – that’s never signed a treaty with its Indigenous people.
It’s time for change. Such was the theme of our February 2020 issue, which called for the constitutional recognition of Indigenous people through a First Nations Voice to Parliament. marie claire joined forces with Indigenous activists and advocates, walking beside them for a better future. Copies of the magazine flew off the shelves and social media was flooded with support for the campaign. It seemed that momentum for a referendum – essential to change the constitution – was gaining, and that Indigenous reform may finally and firmly be back on the political agenda.
And then 2020 happened. Bushfires ravaged the country and COVID-19 swept the world, pushing constitutional reform ever-lower on the Australian Government’s pressing priority list.
Yet our fight must continue: the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians remains this nation’s greatest shame, and constitutional recognition is long overdue. Notably, while Australia has changed incomprehensibly over the past few months, an Indigenous Voice to Parliament would not come at the expense of other citizens or legislation.
To show your support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, register at ulurustatement.org. Write to your local member of parliament about the significance of this issue, and attend a virtual panel and celebration of the Uluru Statement tonight (find details for the Zoom event here).
Let’s make this a movement, not a moment. And remember: the time is still now.