Same sex marriage finally became legalised in Australia this week. It won’t be long now until the national focus moves back towards Indigenous recognition.
There has been a lot of talk about the similarities between legalising same sex marriage and recognising Indigenous people within the Australian constitution. Before the focus returns to recognition once again, it would be worthwhile pointing out a few facts.
The most important thing to realise is that same sex marriage was a goal that same sex couples were campaigning for. Indigenous recognition is actually a government agenda thought up during the Howard government era. Forcing a referendum on Australian’s to recognise Indigenous people in the constitution is like campaigning for a roll out of same sex toilets and schools for children of same sex couples.
These things are not what what same sex couples were campaigning for and these changes would only serve to undermine and further isolate same sex couples and families from the wider community. Can you imagine the uproar if the government went ahead and spent millions of dollars trying to create these meaningless changes for same sex couples and totally ignored their calls for same sex marriage? Well that has already happened. It didn’t happen to same sex couples, it happened to Indigenous people.
Since 2012, the government together with mining companies spent millions to fund the Recognise campaign. This campaign traveled across Australia trying to convince Indigenous people that we should be written into the Australian constitution. But the government has known for a long time that recognition was not on our agenda at all. Our people are more determined to fight for true land rights, self determination and even treaties before any thought of constitutional recognition. There are also very real fears that constitutional recognition would undermine our fight for land rights, self determination and treaties.
For almost 6 years we struggled to have our voices heard as we were drowned out by this multi million dollar campaign. This campaign was ended earlier this year with a shift back to the reconciliation movement which is basically the same thing. The Recognise website and social media pages are still active and continue to tick behind the scenes.
So when you see these multi million dollar government campaigns re-emerge in the very near future, remember that it has nothing to do with the genuine voices of grassroots Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Surveys show that a large majority of our people do not support this at all.
As mentioned above, there would be uproar if the government pushed an alternative agenda and ignored the wishes of same sex couples. We need that same kind of uproar when you see the government pushing these alternative agendas while ignoring our voices.
These actions by the government are creating a dictatorship for our people. Will you help stop this from happening?