Uni wants your opinion on historic referendum

Published 4 May 2007

Almost four decades have passed since the historic 1967 referendum when a huge majority of Australians voted to allow people of Aboriginal descent to be counted in the national census and granted the Federal Government jurisdiction over Aboriginal people, a right previously held by the States.

To reflect on this occasion, the Southern Cross University Indigenous Events Coordinating Committee, in conjunction with a new equity project, Thinking Diversity – Beyond Tolerance, is calling for contributions to the production of a critical reader.

The two main questions being addressed in the reader are:
1. Why should we all celebrate the 1967 referendum?
2. 40 years on – where are we now?

Contributions are welcome from Southern Cross University staff, students and the general public, and close on Friday, May 11. They may include the written word, artwork, poems, songs or photographs. For more information or to submit something for the critical reader contact soenke.biermann@scu.edu.au.

“The publication is meant to encourage discussion and engagement within the University and the wider community on relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people,” said Soenke Biermann, Beyond Tolerance project coordinator.

“It is about reclaiming the public debate at a grassroots levels in a productive, respectful and inclusive manner.”

This year, the anniversary of the referendum – in which 90.7 percent of Australian voters recorded a ‘yes’ vote to alter Australia’s Constitution - coincides closely with two other important dates in Australia’s history – the 10th anniversary of Sorry Day, established after the tabling of the Bringing Them Home Report in Federal parliament, and the 15th anniversary of the Mabo (No. 2) decision.

Photo:The Indigenous Events Coordinating Committee, in conjunction with a new equity project group, Thinking Diversity – Beyond Tolerance, meets to plan activities to celebrate Sorry Day. From left: Lee Ann Emzin, Rachel Callahan, Liz Key, Bilyana Blomeley, Rebecca Park, Soenke Biermann, Ann-Maree Wilkinson, Marcelle Townsend-Cross, Christine Martin.

Media contact: Brigid Veale Southern Cross University communications manager, 02 66593006 or 0439 680 748.