From Aboriginal/Indigenous Peoples to First Nations: The Transformation of Australian Politics

The new enthusiasm of the Federal Labor Party and Bill Shorten to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as first nations in the Commonwealth Constitution of Australia is a turning point in national awareness and sophistication. It catches the Australian Commonwealth parliament up with a growing feeling of the Australian people.

No matter the difficulty of changing the Commonwealth Constitution by referendum, Australians want to recognise First Nations because it is in line with the contemporary concept of the Australian nation itself. The longer it takes for the Constitution to recognise Australia's First Nations peoples the more embarrassing it is for Australians as they think of themselves and the great diversity of the Australian land. The subtle language shift from Aboriginal/Indigenous to First Nations signals a new awareness, a new determination and an impatience with Australia's chronically outmoded, colonial framework and system of political representation. Suddenly Australia's relationship with First Nations communities is a symbol of the capacity of the nation to become a sophisticated, self-assured nation in the world.


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