Entrenching race in the Australian Constitution drives us further apart

Entrenching race in the Australian Constitution drives us further apart. By Tony Abbott, the Australian PM who had the biggest majority this century.

Good on Anthony Albanese for wanting to do the right thing by Aboriginal people. We all do. We all lament the ugly fact Indigenous people, on average, die younger and live worse than the rest of us. But it’s no mystery why this is so. People with much worse educational outcomes, with much lower prospects for employment and living far away from the services most Australians take for granted are always going to have shorter, poorer lives than those in better circumstances, regardless of race. …

Is Separatism really the way to go?

The fundamental issue at the heart of all this is the degree of separation of Australia’s Indigenous people from the wider Australian community.

The problem in almost every remote settlement is that many people end up lost between two worlds, with the kids hardly going to school and the adults hardly going to work because of “culture”; with different standards being applied out of deference to local sensitivities.

Take the glowing report in The Weekend Australian on Saturday about the new Gumatj school in East Arnhem Land that’s bilingual so Yolngu kids can complete year 12 locally rather than having to board in Darwin. “Early signs are promising: 75 per cent of enrolled students have an attendance record of over 90 per cent,” the report said.

Even though this is almost certainly an improvement, it wouldn’t be acceptable in any normal Australian school and it shouldn’t be acceptable just because this is Yolngu country. And how useful is an education mainly in Yolngu anyway, other than for people with scant interest in living anywhere else?

Everything about the proposed voice drips with entrenching separatism as an atonement for dispossession even though Indigenous people can never expect to achieve Australian outcomes without also embracing Australian standards.

Likewise the constant pressure for acknowledg­ment of country, as if the rest of us have no claim, and the growing reference to “First Nations” as if the 700 clans of pre-settlement Australia resembled modern states.

I’m Australian. It’s my country. Being “welcomed” to my country says that it’s not my country, which I find insulting and dispossessing.

Different levels of “ownership” between “first nations” people and (by implication) “second class” people is racist and offensive. Treat all Australians the same, one law for all.