Declaration of Recognition of Australia's Indigenous Peoples
In his landmark speech in 2016, Noel Pearson implored us to promote a referendum to make changes to our Australian Constitution to remedy some unintended defects residual from the 1967 referendum. As part of that important process, he also asks that we adopt a separate document outside the Constitution but sitting alongside it in a manner similar to the Bill of Rights in the USA, in which we pay proper recognition to not only our First People, but also the two major subsequent waves of migration which made Australia the great country it is today, blessed by people from most parts of the World living generally in harmony in a free democracy, a great rarity on all counts in today’s still conflict ridden and far-from-free World.
In “Recognition”, below, we seek to embody Noel’s noble sentiments in a declaration which gives recognition and respect, firstly and foremost to our original people, often referred to as “Aboriginal” from the Latin meaning “from the beginning”. We then seek to also recognise the major contributions by all subsequent major migrations, embodied in the second and third “Waves”.
"Recognition" is thus submitted for public commentary with the intention that it inspire the final version to be proposed to all Australians at the referendum, for adoption at the same time.
We of the great Southern sunburned land of many peoples, of many traditions, of many origins, Australians all, join hands and hearts together today in 2017 to make a great declaration.
Three great “Waves” of people made the Australia of today.
At the dawn of Mankind, the “Dreamtime”, The Sun Mother saw a vast and beautiful place, and gave Waramurrungundjui, the Creator Woman, a great task. She travelled the vast land and made the First People, and gave them many languages. She made the Rainbow Serpent to protect her land and her people, and we pay her great respect. We recognise the First People of Australia as the first custodians of our mother land, and respect the traditions and civilisation, the oldest known culture on this Earth, of the first Wave of Australia.
In 1788 came the Second Wave, from far away Britain.
Britain, whose first people were Celtic, was colonised by many waves of Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans, and from the crucible of continuous conflict came brilliant inventions, great industry, real democracy, and law and order. The harsh presence of constant conflict and competition with her European neighbours saw the peoples of Britain leave to explore the world, bringing them to America, Africa, India and finally Australia. A great nation was created, but not one without terrible wrong being done to our First People by our Second People.
Ongoing terrible conflicts in the twentieth century saw millions of European and other people displaced from their ancestral homes. Millions of people came to Australia in the third great Wave. From Italy, Greece, Yugoslavia, then from the Middle East, from Vietnam, China and Asia, and Africa, and the Americas, as our doors and our hearts finally opened wider.
Today we recognise all peoples of the three Waves, we acknowledge that the birth of our present nation saw many wrongs done to our First People, and by giving recognition and respect today we seek to continue our journey towards harmony, true equality and reconciliation.
We are all one, and we will be one, great people.
Nigel Bryan is a chartered accountant and corporate financier who has worked in a variety of jurisdictions including the UK, Australia, Hong Kong, Russia, China, and Iran. He is an avid reader of history and drew heavily on that as well as his international experience in writing his two geopolitical thrillers so far, in a series which is ongoing. He is the author of The View from the Back of the Pack, The Passion of One Man, as well as his novels, The Orphans Oracle and Orphans of Africa.