*There is one thing tho' - he does by default admit that Aboriginal
peoples are not subject to the Constitution. To quote from an old NSW
Supreme Court matter.*
*"There is no act of Parliament which provides that the aborigines shall, as
among themselves, be answerable to our laws; and that as we choose to found
our title on occupancy, no local proclamation is sufficient authority to
make them so amendable; for if the Governor have not arbitrary power to
impose penal laws by proclamation upon us, who are really British subjects, a
fortiori he cannot possess that power over strangers. If they were already
British subjects, there was no need of a proclamation; if they were not
British subjects, no proclamation could impose penal laws upon them." *
*And we all said ?????*
*We all knew that !!!!!!!! LOL.... looking good.*

Sid Marris | *The Australian 11.50pm October 11, 2007*

*AUSTRALIA'S indigenous people would be given special status under the
Constitution in the next term of a Coalition Government.*
John Howard tonight said the path to reconciliation, which had been vexed by
special interests, false turns and unfulfilled ambitions, remained
Australia's biggest societal challenge.

He admitted he had got it wrong on reconciliation and has committed to a
"new settlement".

Forty years after the referendum on indigenous equality and following the
intervention in the Northern Territory earlier this year, *Mr Howard said
the rise of the indigenous responsibility agenda and the intellectual
firepower which a new generation of indigenous leaders has brought to
Australian politics had presented a new alignment of ideas that must be
harnessed .
"I announce that, if re-elected, I will put to the Australian people within
18 months a referendum to formally recognise indigenous Australians in our
Constitution their history as the first inhabitants of our country, their
unique heritage of culture and languages, and their special (though not
separate) place within a reconciled, indivisible nation," he said.

"My goal is to see a new Statement of Reconciliation incorporated into the
Preamble of the Australian Constitution. If elected, I would commit
immediately to working in consultation with Indigenous leaders and others on
this task.

"It would reflect my profound sentiment that Indigenous Australians should
enjoy the full bounty that this country has to offer; that their economic,
social and cultural well-being should be comparable to that of other

Mr Howard said the preamble statement would be introduced into parliament
within the first 100 days of a new government and would go to the people as
a single question not "blurred or cluttered" or by other constitutional

The Prime Minister said he still did not believe the "old" reconciliation
agenda which he described as creating a separate identity and left white
people "off the hook" was the right way.

He acknowledged he had failed to live up to his own promise in 1998 for a
new way forward by 2001.

"There have been low points when dialogue between me as Prime Minister and
many Indigenous leaders dwindled almost to the point of non-existence. I
fully accept my share of the blame for that.

"I recognise now that, though emotionally committed to the goal, I was
mistaken in believing that it could be achieved in a form I truly believed
in. The old paradigm's emphasis on shame, guilt and apologies made it
impossible to reconcile the goal with the path I was required to tread.

"The challenge I have faced around indigenous identity politics is in part
an artefact of who I am and the time in which I grew up."

Mr Howard said he now saw the potential for "a dignified and respectful
reconciliation process".

*"It is founded on the notion that we are all Australians together; bound by
a common set of laws which we must all obey and from which we are entitled
to equal justice.
"It rests on my unshakeable belief that what unites us as Australians is far
greater than what divides us."

Mr Howard said that he remained a realist and an optimist and that "true
reconciliation" meant delivering better lives for Aboriginal and Torres
Strait Islander people.

"In the end, my appeal to the broader Australian community on this is
simpler, and far less eloquent. It goes to love of country and a fair go.

"It's about understanding the destiny we share as Australians that we are
all in this together.

"It's about recognising that while ever our Indigenous citizens are left out
or marginalised or feel their identity is challenged we are all diminished.

"It's about appreciating that their long struggle for a fair place in the
country is our struggle too."

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