Foreword to “Practical Recognition from the Mobs’ Perspective”

Tim Wilson, MP

19 May 2017


Australia’s continuing story is to create one mob where everyone can see the success of their lives lived through the ambition of our country. The place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is central to that narrative.

Like many Australians, I don’t have Aboriginal ancestry. But that doesn’t mean you can’t empathise with the ambition of Recognition.

Some might find it in the familiarity of addressing silence about themselves and their lives when they look to societal and government institutions. Others may find it in the cause of mutual respect. And others may find it in the opportunity to live the freedom to take responsibility – to live self-determination, not just to speak to it.

That’s what makes this paper by Warren Mundine so valuable. It identifies that any successful campaign for Recognition must be found in these themes, not just flowery language and symbols. Recognition in words will always lack the weight that comes with human outcomes.

Mundine’s contribution breaks the mould of the problems that have sometimes plagued Indigenous advancement. It doesn’t look to government for the solution. It looks to communities and people.

And it builds on the work of others: Indigenous leaders that concluded Recognition must end discrimination, conservatives who want to preserve a framework to advance self-determination for all, and liberals who want to focus on unity and common bonds. 

Mundine recognises that the opportunity of Recognition isn’t just about healing the trauma experienced by Indigenous Australians; it is also about unity and recognising we can create the opportunity to take all Australians forward together.

Tim Wilson is the Federal Liberal Member for Goldstein and formerly Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner –