Significant step towards Reconciliation

The successful passing of South Australia’s Constitution (Recognition of Aboriginal Peoples) Amendment Bill, 2012 through the Legislative Council yesterday has been welcomed by AnglicareSA’s Director of Aboriginal Services, Sonia Waters.

“South Australia’s Constitution has not kept pace with our maturity as a state.  It has long been recognised that our people, Aboriginal people, are South Australia’s first peoples and I welcome yesterday’s Amendment that etches this into one of our State’s most legally binding documents,” Ms Waters said.

“The 1836 Letters Patent that established the Province of South Australia, was not silent on our prior occupation.  It stated that…

…nothing in those our Letter Patent contained shall affect or be construed to affect the rights of any Aboriginal Natives of the said Province to the actual occupation or enjoyment in their own Persons or in the Persons of their Descendants of any Lands therein now actually occupied or enjoyed by such Natives…

“Yet our Constitution Act, 1934 (SA) has until today, remained silent.  I hope the success of today’s Constitutional Recognition will flow on to Recognition in our nation’s founding document – Australia’s Constitution.

“Whilst this Amendment is applauded and welcomed as another significant step forward toward achieving Reconciliation in this State, we still have a long way to go to addressing the inequalities, inequities and injustices endured by Aboriginal people and I hope that South Australia will soon honour the 1836 Letters Patent.”