PROPOSAL FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM – 2016
1. The AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY PARTY proposes that a referendum of the Australian electorate be held during the Federal election to be held this year.
2. The referendum should contain three separate, simple (non-compound) questions that give Australia the opportunity to express their wishes to the government about:
3. The two references to race in section 25 and section 51(xxvi) of the Australian Constitution, and
4. Acknowledging Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution.
THE CURRENT AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION
5. Section 25 allows states to exclude people from voting because they belong to a particular race:
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT – SECT 25
Provision as to races disqualified from voting
For the purposes of the last section, if by the law of any State all persons of any race are disqualified from voting at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State, then, in reckoning the number of the people of the State or of the Commonwealth, persons of that race resident in that State shall not be counted.
6. Section 51(xxvi) allows the Federal government to make laws that apply only to people of a certain race.
COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT – SECT 51
Legislative powers of the Parliament [see Notes 10 and 11]
The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws for the peace, order, and good government of the Commonwealth with respect to:
(xxvi) the people of any race for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws;
7. There is no acknowledgement in the Australian Constitution that Australia was inhabited by Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people before European settlement.
PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE AUSTRALIAN CONSTITUTION
8. The AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY PARTY proposes that section 25 of the Australian Constitution be removed in order to prevent the exclusion of Australians on the basis of race in Australian elections.
9. The AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY PARTY proposes that section 51(xxvi) of the Australian Constitution be removed in order to prevent discrimination on the basis of race in the laws and regulations of Australia.
10. The AUSTRALIAN COUNTRY PARTY proposes that the words “The Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are respectfully acknowledged as inhabiting Australia when the first fleet arrived.” be inserted as section 3A of the Australian Constitution in order to promote good relations between all races.