NSW Constitutional recognition of First People and Nations (but not as First Peoples).

Extract from Bill’s text:

Constitution Amendment (Recognition of Aboriginal People) Bill 2010
Recognition of Aboriginal people

(1) Parliament, on behalf of the people of New South Wales, acknowledges and honours the Aboriginal people as the State’s first people and nations.
(2) Parliament, on behalf of the people of New South Wales, recognises that Aboriginal people, as the traditional custodians and occupants of the land in New South Wales:
(a) have a spiritual, social, cultural and economic relationship with their traditional lands and waters,
(b) have made and continue to make a unique and lasting contribution to the identity of the State.
(3) Nothing in this section creates any legal right or liability, or gives rise to or affects any civil cause of action or right to review an administrative action, or affects the interpretation of any Act or law in force in New South Wales.

copy of Constitution Amendment (Recognition
of Aboriginal People) Bill 2010


Story ABC Website:

“Indigenous Australians recognised in NSW constitution

The New South Wales constitution now recognises Aboriginal people as the first people in the state, after the Premier introduced a new bill into parliament today.

Indigenous leaders and politicians packed the courtyard at Parliament House to watch a smoking ceremony and traditional dancing by school students.

It is part of a day of celebration to mark the introduction of a bill that acknowledges the Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of the land.

Premier Kristina Keneally says it is an important change.

“Our intention is to provide recognition recognition that is long overdue,” she said.”

full story


Yeah, good, but …

Check out the difference between recognition of “First People” and “First Peoples” in terms of international law. Note also the name of the new national body “National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples ” See http://www.nationalcongress.com.au

Isn’t it curious, also, how when non-indigenous Australian authorities provide limited recognition of the consequences of British invasion (e.g. native title, stolen generations) they seek to do so at no actual financial cost to the vested interests which have resulted from the mistaken means of colonisation, nor to any real change of the mainstream’s wrong ways of living which have resulted.

So, while each small step along the healing path is to be encouraged (symbolic tokenism included) there remains a very long way to go – and that distance will only be covered as a result of the efforts of a genuine peoples movement.

Hopefully the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples will be funded by the new Federal Government to conduct community consultation for any changes to the Australian Constitution in terms of recognition of this country’s First Peoples. That could provide a real opportunity to establish its bona fides.