Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander are the people from the oldest cultural heritage and they have not been recognized by the constitution of Australia. In the convention debate of 1890 that lead to the drafting of the Australian constitution in 1901, Aboriginal people were not recognized and only few people voted for them (Referendum Council, 2016). The Australian Constitution came into effect on 1 January 1901 and since then, it is considered as the most powerful set of laws in Australia. Aboriginals are the “First People” of the land yet their rights are strongly ignored in the Australian constitution (Constitutional Recognition, 2012).
Since enforcement of the Constitution of Australian in 1901, many policies and laws have been enacted that has discriminated against the first people of Australian land (Referendum Council, 2016). The main objective for recognizing the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander in constitution is important for protecting them against various kinds of discriminations and unfair treatment that these people had to face (Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, 2011). The main reason that these people were not recognized in the constitution is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as well as the members of the ethnic community were not allowed to participate in the conventions (Henderson, 2015). Therefore, the predominant views and prejudicing perspectives of the British men, who were invited in the conventions to draft the constitution, were included in the constitution (Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, 2011).
At the time of drafting of the Australian Constitution, the history, culture, occupation and rights of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander were not considered as valuable or important, as they were considered as the “dying race” (Irving, 2012). However, the changes in the constitution are likely to succeeded because Aboriginal people in Australia are considered as the part of total population and has been successful accepted in the referendum of 1967 (Henderson, 2015). The evidences have shown that other countries have recognized the “aboriginal rights”. Canada recognized the rights of aboriginal people as the first people of land.
The referendum is likely to be successful because, in the year 2010, Australia’s “National Report” to the UN Human Rights Council for the purpose of Universal Periodic Review confirmed that, Australia government is committed to recognize the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution (Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, 2011). The constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is supported by the 18th and 19th articles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007). These articles support the good faith and rights of the indigenous people (UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007).
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