Two Laws and Constitutional recognition.

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Cultural warning – Contains images of significant people who have passed away.

At the end of 1989, when i was leaving Tennant Creek (NT) after a decade of involvement in land rights and related matters, I attended a large meeting of senior Warumungu and Alyawarra men at the Jurnkurakurr Outstation Resource Centre. 

Jurnkurakurr is the name of a famous Wirnkarra (‘Dreaming’) site locate in Warumungu country close to the old Telegraph Station on Tennant Creek to the north of the present town. One very senior Alyawarra lawman (M.Butcher) told me that it “was like a university”. An initiated man had to be very educated to pass through the law business there. These matters are invisible to the uninitiated.

I had worked with these men over the last ten years. It was time for me to move and i explained to these senior men that one task i wanted to address was to get constitutional recognition of First Peoples. I showed them a copy of the Australian Constitution. It was all news to them. They had their own law.

Gaining some understanding of the Ways of First Peoples has been my lot for most of my adult life. I know that the knowledge senior lawmen hold is a vital part of the cultural core of well-formed life in this country.

These senior lawmen embody systems of law which lie at the core of First Peoples Ways. Only those initiated into their systems of law (not me) can make informed decisions about important life matters.

Well, much time has passed and i am now completely out of touch with those men, many of whom have (sadly) passed away during the last 27 years. While I am sure they have been replaced by another generation of lawmen, what follows needs to be read in light of a perspective which is largely frozen in 1989.

National Indigenous Constitutional Convention Uluru – May 2017

I have, of course, followed the debate about Constitutional Recognition and i am aware of the very limited degree of recognition Anglo-Australian politicians have in mind when they discuss this matter. It certainly far less than what i had in mind when i met with the senior lawmen in 1989. I think this is the idea the non-indigenous politicians have in mind when the talk of recognition of First Peoples:

EPSON MFP image

(Portrait of Bungaree, a native of New South Wales c 1826 by Augustus Earle)

Bungaree no doubt had his own reasons and agency for exploring the new European fashions. What was lacking then – and is still lacking now – is a complementary image of a non-indigenous person of authority properly painted up in the designs of this country’s First Peoples.

Earlier in the 1980s, i had worked (Senior Anthropologist, Land Claims) at the Central Land Council when Wenten Rubuntja was the Chairman. He was my boss and i certainly embraced his vision of cultural partnership – peaceful and respectful co-existence without domination.

This he later displayed so graphically in his “Atnengkerre Atherre Akwete – Two Laws Together” poster for the Aboriginal Areas Protection Authority.

Wenten’s painting graphically presents two very different forms of representation – both of which he had mastered. Bi-culturally balanced! The implicit challenge is for us non-indigenous people to do likewise.

Two Laws Together

CENTRAL LAND COUNCIL ROSS RIVER MEETING

Recently indigenous people from the area of the Northern Territory covered by the Central Land Council met at Ross River, near Alice Springs/Mparntwe, to prepare for a meeting on Constitutional recognition to be held at Uluru in 24-26 May.  See their media release at:

http://www.clc.org.au/media-releases/article/constitutional-reform-central-australian-aboriginal-meeting-calls-for-subst

I was delighted to see this, in light of my undertaking in 1989, as i knew the kind of message which the senior men from the Tennant Creek area would bring to such a meeting and – as a consequence – to the important Uluru National Constitutional Convention.

Then i took the time to read the story a little more closely. My delight faded somewhat. The CLC meeting had elected 10 delegates to attend the National Convention at Uluru in May.

… the meeting elected mostly young and middle aged people to seek consensus at Uluru on a referendum question to put to all Australian voters.

“I was quite overjoyed that we had a number of young people who had the confidence to stand up and make comment. They want to learn more. They were really engaged and really excited to be part of this journey,”

WHOSE VOICES? WHO SPEAKS?

My simple rule of thumb in trying to make sense out of complex life system is to look at who is systematically excluded. That helps you sort out a heap of confusing information.

There has been a psychic war been waged against First Peoples senior lawmen since the arrival of Europeans in this country. The present 1901 Australian Constitution is a classic example.

There is a strong Westernising influence at work in contemporary Australian life by the dominating mainstream where certain ‘acceptable’ people are ‘unconsciously’ selected and promoted.

Senior lawmen are the very last people to be meaningfully engaged by those processes which originate in – and are subtly controlled by – the mainstream Australian political system.

So, noting that i am well and truly out of the loop in terms of what is happening with senior lawmen and the vastly important issues of Constitution reform and recognition of the law they uniquely embody, i can only pose a question.

Where are the senior lawmen in this 2017 scheme of things for the reform of the Australian Constitution to recognise First Peoples?

This is not clear from the CLC release after the Ross River meeting. That release says:

“The 10 delegates plan to meet in the coming weeks in order to prepare for the Uluru convention.”

So –  where are the senior lawmen in this scheme of things? How can these mostly young and middle people (men? women?) represent senior lawmen in this process? Do they have any real understanding of the esoteric and closely guarded knowledge held by senior men? If not, which experiences and/or master narrative will they have to rely on when, with the best of intentions, they try to fulfill the heavy responsibilities which have been placed upon them at this crucial time?

I am someone who longs to see proper (full and robust) recognition of this countries First Peoples – as cultural partners – by the Anglo-Australian authorities and non-indigenous peoples. This is fundamentally important to re-balance and heal life here for all people.

While i do not know the answer to the key question of the present role of senior lawmen in the ‘Recognise’ campaign, What i do know is this:

without significant and empowered participation by senior indigenous lawmen in the Constitutional reform process (and the National Convention) any reforms will be as hollow and empty as the original British document which we know as the 1901 Australian Constitution.

I am also well aware there is a substantial campaign by some First Peoples opposing any Constitutional reform since it is most likely to be another false dealing by Anglo-Australian state authorities – preserving their weatlh and privileges at the expense of the original peoples well-being.   These First Peoples have valid concerns which must be addressed – to their satisfaction.

We will all need to come together in real solidarity to gain proper and respectful recognition of this country’s First Peoples. It is long overdue.

Bruce (Japaljari) Reyburn

Coledale, NSW

 

 

 

 

 

 

Existential Justice in forms of Representation of First Peoples Ways

Existential Justice in forms of Representation.

When we craft forms of representation of First Peoples lives it is fundamentally important that those forms recognise the place of senior men’s higher practices – law and ceremony.

These matters must be included in order to do existential justice to First Peoples lived realities.

Forms of representation which systematically exclude these higher practices can only make a mockery of First Peoples Ways. To fail to recognise and acknowledge the importance of senior men’s law and ceremonies is to be involved in the established Westernising practices of fashioning false images of life.

It is akin to constructing an external image of the cell (in biology) while systematically excluding the role of the nucleus.

While including an important place for these higher practices may be able to be justified in terms of Western notions of human rights, the basis for recognising them comes from what is , ultimately, a more important authority – that of life itself.

To spell this out – First Peoples Ways, as encountered by Europeans from 1788 to the present, have been shaped as part of this country since long before the advent of European Neolithic societies.

These Ways carry an imprimatur which comes from life itself. They have an existential standing which exists outside of the workings of any European (or other non-indigenous place) authority. They exist as a product of the working of forces operating on a much higher level than those of Westminster Parliaments (for example).

Modern forms of production of representations include attempts by some to try to justify First Peoples Ways by relying on entirely Western categories and concepts. To seek to interpret – and seek recognition for – First Peoples practices as form of ‘agriculture’ is one example. Similarly the attempts to recognise First Peoples sky narratives as effort by early ‘scientists’ and ‘astronomers’.

Such well-intentioned attempts invariably result in reinforcing a privilege for the clusters of Western concepts which are themselves the product of European history.  This is done at the cost of making a mockery of the concepts which are the product of First Peoples lived interactions with their surroundings over a much longer period. Key aspects of First Peoples realities are rendered nonsense in the process.

One of the healing challenges for conceptual craftspeople is to move from a modern point of view and to work towards crafting forms of representation which are bi-culturally balanced. That is, the move has to go beyond ‘post-modern’ as well as going beyond ‘modern’.

This move removes the dominating privileges which Western Ways of life have proclaimed for themselves. In their place the shift has to be from a ‘top-down’ stance to a ‘side-by-side’ mode of cultural partnership. That is, from non-indigenous dominating and manipulating to learning how to relate and to do so be means which systematically recognise the significance of senior men’s higher practices.

The fact is that many Western intellectuals cannot grasp the significance of the higher practices in maintaining a well-tempered cosmos. Their thinking remains grounded in entirely Western unconscious-in-culture; worldview; metaphysic; cosmology (call it what you will).

Consequently they remain within the comfort zones of their own conceptual prison-houses, where (in return for some sort of living) they can fashion the fetishes required to please their modern masters. It is the age of mass production.

The challenge life presents us with in this country is not to render First Peoples lives significant in Western terms but to reform Western thinking in order to better able to recognise (and relate to) First Peoples Ways.

We have to stop looking so hard with entirely Western eyes. Such eyes have a professional deformation.

We have to begin to learn to see with eyes which are properly connected to our surroundings in this country.

This may be a major challenge – but it is not an impossible one.

Bruce (Japaljari) Reyburn – August 2017

A continent of metaphysicians – and their apprentices

James Cowan (1989 ‘Mysteries of the Dream-time: Spiritual Life of the Australian Aborigines’) has written:

 

“Recognizing the Dreaming as a living reality, however, demands a fundamental shift in the attitudes of everyone concerned. It requires, firstly, that the Dreaming is seen for what it is: a metaphysical statement about the origins of mankind as a spiritual being.”

 

Cowan’s words ring true to me. In my analysis of Warumungu systems of relationships – in which Being is signified by Dreamings – it looked to me that the concerns were about relationships of a higher order than those whose conceptions of ‘reality’ were rooted in biology or other Western notions of bodily life.

 

The origins of mankind as a ‘spiritual being’ however, may suggest that this event was something like the origins of some other cultural feature – say, the acquisition of cooking fire. That is, to suggest a prior condition – some kind of ‘animal’ or otherwise ‘incomplete’ level of existence.

 

It is far to easy, in these secular times, to ‘blow away’ any reference to man as a spiritual being. Too easy to dismiss. What brand of ‘spirituality’ would you prefer? “Spirituality” is set against materially real in these days – and thus is put in the category of ’unreal’.

 

In posing the issue as one which smuggles in through the back door what we are attempting to dispose of via the front door, we may fail to properly address the problem which confronts us.

 

Metaphysical spiritual Being

 

Rather than man as a spiritual being, with origins as developing out of some prior condition, what happens if we regard Dreaming as a metaphysical statement about life as an existential Being, of which we have always been.

 

That is, in place of a modern materialist interpretation which dominates our imaginary origins – we need to learn to see our true origins as part of life emerging as a signifying being (and that materialist means of interpreting experience are one of the means by which we signify but not one which enjoys are privileged position vis-à-vis all other contenders).

 

Cowan goes on to say:

 

“So long as the Dreaming is regarded merely an as assortment of myths that have little more than a quixotic value for the rest of Australians, then the Dreaming will always be demeaned as a metaphysical event. Men and women of goodwill, both European and Aboriginal, must begin to regard the mysteries of the Dreaming as being important in their own lives in the here-and-now. They must begin to see the Dreaming as a spiritual condition, rather than simply as a word denoting the creation-time of Aborigines. Indeed, the idea that Dreaming is an on-going metaphysical, rather than an historical event is the only way this change can be brought about.” (Cowan 1989:119-120)

 

 

While I am personally not inclined to become too ‘spiritual’ about all this, I do agree with Cowan that we need to learn to fully appreciate the great and lasting value of the high achievement of First Peoples in their comprehensive mapping of where things fit into life – and of the corresponding challenge for our comparatively simpleminded means of interpreting experience to transcend our own limitations and come up with new systems.

 

For me the trans-signification of life which is clear in First Peoples systems of signification demonstrates a through-going respect for ensuring that all aspects of life are categorized in their proper place. While modern Western means of categorization produce ‘things’ First Peoples Ways insist that ‘things’ must be in their proper place.

 

There is not a system in which a natural or material ‘thing’ has an additional message attached (it belongs in this particular niche) but, rather, a highly polished system of categorization which relates a figure or text to its generative context. This is the highest form of art.

 

Categories within such systems operate on a higher level – one which respects a host of existential factors of the kind modern science insisted on being jettisoned (in order to better understand life!).

 

Naturalism is a cultural code which seeks to strip other messages away from our means of interpreting experience.

 

Life as lived, on the other hand, went in completely the opposite direction to that of the parlor games of modern science. It is crucially important that we relate to the rest of life with systems of signification which do not systematically make a mockery out of the whole of life.

 

In agreeing that First Peoples Ways can be viewed as the collective work of countless metaphysicians (acting as eco-wizards when restoring balance was called for) the way is not necessary opened up for New Agers to assume they can simply embrace First Peoples as kindred spirits.

 

Acts of cultural partnership presume that relationships are underwritten, and produced by, genuine systems of reciprocity – that is, the balanced exchange of ‘things’ of real value. Expropriating Dreaming runs contrary to the spirit of cultural partnership. Inserting oneself into the position of expert in indigenous Dreaming knowledge is not the way to go.

 

Rather, re-balancing life carries ‘lesser’ roles. Learning from life’s masters is one such role.

 

One aspect to the task at hand is to enable and empower those who – as a result of choices made by life itself – have come to embody Dreaming knowledge and law.

 

Mens songs – in the higher keys of life.

MENS SONGS IN THE HIGHER KEYS OF LIFE.

In his book “Dark Emu” Bruce Pascoe says words to the effect  – “we have a chance to catch a glimpse of Australia as Aboriginals saw it.”

I share the spirit of this very important challenge – catching a glimpse or two can serve to restructure entire fields of knowledge by methods which mere data collecting and modern social theorising never will.

Part of the glimpse process is to ‘see’ the western frameworks of interpretation which have to be transcended in order to let some life through. We have to learn to see life in this country on its own terms and not those which systematically privilege modern Western master narratives.

In other words, we have to stop looking at life so hard with our Westernised eyes. These eyes turn dancing forms of energy into inert things.

David Turner has written about his experiences in learning to see with dancing eyes.

Rather than trying to accommodate First Peoples Ways into Neolithic Western categories (farmers, agriculturalists) as Bruce Pascoe does in his book “Dark Emu” I regard First Peoples as being involved in the production of higher level messages of an entirely different type to those which emerged in a Neolithic transformation of part of life.

Life within orthodox First Peoples Ways stands in an entirely different relationship to that necessary for horticulture, agriculture, farming etc. I regard First Peoples as operating on a higher level than agriculture.

The songs and ceremonies of senior men are songs in the key of life – ensuring a finely-tuned cosmos. The songs are higher practices which ensure that the everyday practices which make up our lives are appropriately formed according to an age-old life design. One that has keep this planet of ours in extremely good shape over a vast period of time.

What is striking, in regard to the harvesting of tubers and grains, is that these activities may be predominantly women’s activities. Strehlow Senior noted that the gathering/harvesting of certain roots was the principal food of the women. I am uncertain about the harvesting of grains, but the grinding of grains is certainly something well within women’s domain.

Anthropologists such as Annette Hamilton have written on the existence of these two worlds.

The complementary opposition between men’s and women’s social universes is certainly a highly marked feature of First Peoples Ways in Central Australia. Of course, there is a fully functioning form of co-existence between these two social and cultural universes.

In modern Western Ways, especially at this time, the movement for accepting women into the core of men’s domains, is regarded as the right and proper path for life to take. It is not necessarily how things function in other viable socio-cultural life formations.

I have pondered before – in light of contemporary cross-cultural alliances – if the conceptual distance between the women’s world – a fully cultured world without a shadow of a doubt – is somehow closer to that of the modern secular worldview. And this closeness and system of alliances results in senior men being excluded from their rightful place in life.

As i travel in Central Australia i am struck by how much of what is on public display about traditional Dreaming narratives is from the women’s side of life. This is a very rich tradition and exists on a high existential level as a complement to the secret-sacred law of senior men. But much of the secret-sacred law of senior men remains restricted to initiated men and is not so readily visible.

This is no reason to treat it as non-existent.

Traditionally any male who had not been initiated was, irrespective of his age, still a ‘boy’ in the eyes of the senior men. Much of the present debates about First Peoples rights are conducted by people who are not initiated into the original system of laws carried by senior men.

I also fail detect any substantial respect for senior lawmen on the part of at least some non-indigenous feminists including those who presume to be able to talk about the rights of First Peoples, men included. Much of the modern human rights agenda is based on presumptions about rights which apply only to peoples-without-countries.

While posing as a cross-cultural dialogue, discussions about First Peoples rights far too often conducted in English by people who find no discomfort in the lack of the voices of senior indigenous lawmen in these discussion, but who also feel no compulsion to learn the languages spoken by surviving senior lawmen.

In other words, where we should be hearing the voices of senior indigenous lawmen speaking in their own languages, an entirely Western monologue by privileged people fills the entire space with talk of ‘the nation’ and similar bounded categories entirely alien to the world-views of First Peoples.

The voices of senior men need to be heard in their own right – not as interpreted by others (included me). The task for people like me is to create spaces for their voices to be heard by Western ears.

To hear the voices of senior lawmen we have to leave our modern comfort zones and go the extra mile. I believe the rewards will be well worth the effort for those of us who accept the major life challenge of regaining our singing cosmos.

Still not hearing voices of senior lawmen in Constitution recognition mix

Mainstream media SMH

‘Noble compromise’ will emerge on Indigenous recognition: Pearson

Noel Pearson predicts clear proposition to emerge from Indigenous constitutional convention

Mr Pearson said the Mundine proposal resonated with his long-held belief that self-determination, correctly understood, is about our peoples’ right to take responsibility. “That is what constitutional recognition should structurally encourage and enable,” he said.

He told Fairfax Media he had attended at least seven of 12 Indigenous dialogues leading up the the convention and is “staggering pleased” with what has emerged, and with the leadership shown at the dialogues by Pat Anderson and Megan Davis.

“We’ve had very significant Indigenous female leadership over the decades, but I think this is the one time where I think two women have really carried the leadership on this process,” he said. 

“I see next week as 12 pieces of the jigsaw from all parts of the country coming together into a united position, a single whole. The outcome I’m hoping for is a very clear statement of what Indigenous Australia wants in a reform agenda.

Full story

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/indigenous-recognition-referendum-question-will-hit-the-sweet-spot-noel-pearson-20170518-gw7rv5.htm

Yes but what do the Central Australia senior lawmen have to say?

Still waiting to hear from them.

Next – results of National Referendum Convention at Uluru May 24-26 #GetTheFullPicture

The extent to which the present Referendum Council’s Recognise process has engaged with Warumungu and Alyawarra senior lawmen in Tennant Creek remains unclear to me.

The generalised reply to my question to the Central Land Council about this specific issue (posted on this blog) has done nothing to reassure me that these crucially important men have been properly informed and enabled to participate on their own culturally fair terms. The CLC response is the sort of reply i get from evasive politicians.

However, as i am presently in Wollongong, NSW, i am a long way from events on the ground in places like Tennant Creek. I will be in the Central Australia in June and hope to travel to Tennant Creek then.

Delegates for the very important National Indigenous Referendum Convention gather at Uluru in just a few weeks (May 24-260. I see this is also deemed a First Nations Convention, but the role of First Nations and the selection of their delegates is also obscure.

I feel the delegates deserve a fair-go to show what they can come up in relation to this most difficult of vexing problems in this country – proper recognition of First Peoples (as cultural partners and on terms which are acceptable to them).

So, with some signs of movement on treaty issues at the State level, i look forward with deep interest in what comes out of that Convention. Ideally something we could all get behind and support. Wait and see.

This country is long overdue for some deep and effective healing after the massive damage done to life here by the soul-destroying methods of British colonisation.

Country is life’s eternal soul. First Peoples are country!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cannot hear senior lawmen’s voices #GetTheFullPicture

I can hear many indigenous and non-indigenous voices in the present reports of the Ross River regional dialogue – but i cannot hear the singing voices of senior indigenous lawmen from the Tennant Creek and Barkly region of the Northern Territory.

In 1901, when the new Commonwealth of Australia came into existence with the new Australian Constitution, the renown anthropologists Spencer and Gillen spent some months at the Tennant Creek Telegraph Station being mentored – by senior Warumungu lawmen –  in the laws and cultures of First Peoples.

The senior Warumungu lawmen undoubtedly saw the anthropologists as some kind of representative of Anglo-Australia authorities.  Warumungu and related people were reeling from the savage invasion by cattle and cattle-men into their lives and living country.

The senior men clearly wanted to instill some degree of understanding about country into the minds of those authorities associated with the invasion of cattle and cattle-men. They reached out and made known much of esoteric knowledge which makes up their life capital. This is usually carefully guarded.

But the extensive knowledge they shared with Spencer and Gillen did not find its way back into the lawmaking processes of the new Federal Government.

The anthropologists were not in Warumungu country to serve as a conduit to the Anglo-Australian authorities. Rather, they were there to document – for future men of science – the lives of Stone Age people before they disappeared – swept away by ‘progress’.

The singing voices of senior lawmen were not heard in the remote places (Canberra) where Anglo-Australia’s lawmen make their laws. Their voices are completely missing from the 1901 Australian Constitution and the large body of Anglo-Australian law which followed.

There was simply no connect between the efforts of the senior lawmen and the decision-making processes of the Anglo-Australian political system.

First Peoples were never remnants of an imaginary Stone Age. They are contemporary peoples who follow a Way of life which is different to that of Europe. The high culture – the systems of law which inform the lives of senior lawmen – is central to this other Way of life. Senior women, of course, play a complementary role as high cultural carriers. It is a both-and situation not an either/or one. I cannot speak on women’s matters.

This high culture has existential rights – it does not require recognition by non-indigenous Australians (or anyone else) to exist. Constitutional recognition would, however, make life better adjusted for all concerned.

TWO SYSTEMS OF LAW

The present campaign to make good the enormous shortcomings of the 1901 Constitution and to gain some form of recognition of this country’s First Peoples may presently suffer from exactly this same flaw – a lack of connect and real engagement between the two systems of law.

In 1990 I was fortunate enough to gain a Lionel Murphy Scholarship to  spend a year considering how to improving dialogue between the two systems of law in this country. Those two systems are the original system of First Peoples law and the introduced system of law.

This came after I had had ten years of direct involvement in First Peoples Ways in the Northern Territory. Firstly, in the early 1980s, as Senior Anthropologist responsible for land claims with the Central Land Council based in Alice Springs. My main area of involvement was with Warumungu and Alyawarra people in the Tennant Creek/Barkly region to the north of Alice Springs.

Secondly, I spent the second half of the 1980s living in Tennant Creek and, for a while, working as a Community Development Officer with Julalikari Council. My role required me to meet weekly with the representatives of the numerous town camps and to assist with the meetings of the full Council.

I left the Northern Territory in 1989 and my family came to live in the Northern Suburbs of Wollongong, south of Sydney, in NSW. I spent a good part of the 1990s involved in local reconciliation groups, and supporting the Sandon Point Aboriginal Tent Embassy in their struggle for recognition.

Consequently, not only have I given a great deal of thought to how to consult indigenous people, I have also spent a good part of my life being directly involved with First Peoples at the grassroots level.

One of the key lessons I have learnt is that a successful consultation process – one that actually engages with First Peoples in the lives they actually lives – must be designed  (from the outset) with an emphasis on process.

If you can get the process right then you can avoid a host of other problems further down the track. A proper process is not one which merely informs them of something which is going on a coming-ready-or-not basis.

A proper process is one which provides senior lawmen – properly constituted in their own right – with as much information as they require to consider the issues from their perspective. Then, those presenting the information, need to retire for the requisite time (days, weeks) so that senior men can discuss matters between themselves and determine if they can arrive at a consensus. Then, when the senior men are agreed (they will avoid a meeting if they are not) to reconvene and allow them to make a public statement of their agreed position.

I very much doubt that any real effort will be made, between now and the National Indigenous Referendum Convention at Uluru in late May, to actually engage with the senior lawmen in the Tennant Creek and Barkly region. It takes a concerted effort to do this.

I hope i am completely mistaken and urge the delegates who have been selected at the Ross River regional dialogue meeting to make every effort to provide an opportunity for the senior lawmen to speak in their own voices at the Constitutional convention at Uluru in May.

In my experience, no one else can do this for the senior lawmen.

Their empowered involvement is a crucially important ingredient for healing life in this country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join the Referendum Conversation – recognition of First Peoples #GetTheFullPicture

From the Referendum Council website:

“What do you think about a future referendum being held in Australia to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution?

Australians can also have their say by reading and responding to the Council’s Discussion Paper, sharing their thoughts using #GetTheFullPicture on Facebook or Twitter, and getting all the facts about constitutional recognition and joining the conversation on the website.

https://conversation.referendumcouncil.org.au/

Australians have the chance to respond to a Discussion Paper by the Referendum Council outlining questions that may be addressed in a referendum. Submissions close 8 May 2017.”

https://www.referendumcouncil.org.au/resources/discussion-paper

See also

https://www.referendumcouncil.org.au/