Paul Keating calls for a “Indigenous treaty”

Former prime minister Paul Keating is pushing for a treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples:

Paul Keating has backed a treaty with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, describing it as the “unfinished business of the nation” and suggesting it could precede Indigenous recognition in the constitution.

… In an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media, Mr Keating says the push for Indigenous constitutional recognition has lost direction and needs to be given shape and form “by someone who believes in a treaty, someone who believes that the Aboriginal peoples need to be dealt with as a nation”.

… In the interview, to coincide with the release of Keating, by Kerry O’Brien, Mr Keating has played down the importance of a prohibition on racial discrimination in “our very vanilla, horse-and-buggy constitution”.

He said a treaty, or compact, that dealt with Aboriginal people as a nation would complete the process he called for in his Redfern Park speech of 1992. “I think a constitutional recognition could follow the formality of such a compact or treaty. In other words, it would affirm and or acknowledge, rather than being the primary vehicle for it,” he said.

The idea behind a treaty is a divisive one. Rather than acknowledging all Australians as equal, a treaty would divide Australians into groups based on race. The idea that Australians should be separated into different nations is a dangerous one, and should be rejected.

To learn more about the IPA’s Race Has No Place project visit racehasnoplace.org.au.

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