A relay to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution attracted an impressive crowd of supporters on Friday.
The RECOGNISE campaign has clocked up more than 34,000 kilometres to raise awareness of the need to end the exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from the Australian Constitution and deal with racial discrimination in it.
“Currently there is no mention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, the tens of thousands of years history prior to colonisation, is missing from our highest legal document,” Cassandra Goodwin, a Yuin and Wiradjuri RECOGNISE campaigner.
“Currently in there are two racial discriminatory clauses section 25 allows the state to ban people from voting and section 5126 is the race powers that can make good or bad laws against people based on their race.
“It’s 2015 - you don’t think that clauses like that would be in a country’s constitution. Lots of people are gobsmacked when they hear that that’s in there.”
The campaigner hosted an informal Q&A with about 25 attendees who had questions surrounding education to a potential referendum.
“One third of Australians don’t know we have a constitution so it is about awareness and education on how important that document is to our country,” Ms Goodwin said.
“[It’s about] letting people know we are trying to get the racism out, get the recognition in and make it fair, make it a fair nation and bring about this moment and move forward as a unified nation.”
She said RECOGNISE polling found 87 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people would vote yes if a referendum were held tomorrow while one in three Coalition members would vote yes.
“[Those numbers are] really positive to see that backing and support is there,” Ms Goodwin said.
“Momentum is up within states and it’s really positive to see that that movement is out there.”