Migrant leaders reject push for recognition in Constitution

Migrant leaders reject push for recognition in Constitution

“In some ways we are all migrants, and we are all already recognized. It would be a special place for First Nations people because they were never recognized when the Constitution was created.”

Ms Long’s Malaysian-Chinese parents moved to Australia from Kuala Lumpur in the early 1980s.

‘Ford of Desperation’

Indigenous leader Noel Pearson on Monday rejected plans for the rival referendum, describing them as a diversionary tactic and an “act of desperation”.

Ms Long said she was focused on indigenous constitutional recognition in 2023.

“We need to recognize First Nations, who have been in this country for 60,000 years. Our country did not begin when our Constitution was established or when Captain Cook arrived, it began 60,000 years ago.

“I do believe that we should give indigenous Australians that special place in our history.”

Some business leaders contacted by The Australian Financial Review declined to comment publicly for fear of politicizing the issue of Indigenous reconciliation.

“We stand on the land of the indigenous First Nations people,” said one manager from a migrant background.

‘We never asked for migrant recognition in the Constitution’

“This is something we have to recognize, like many other countries, including Canada and New Zealand. It’s more important than simply naming everyone.”

Calls for migrants to be recognized in the Constitution are divisive and offensive, said Mohammad Al-Khafaji, chief executive of the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia.

“We never asked for migrants to be recognized in the Constitution,” said Mr Al-Khafaji.

“Trying to pin migrant communities on the referendum by using it as an argument will not only work, but it is offensive to our community’s intelligence.”

Mr Mundine told ABC TV on Tuesday he was not worried about defeating the referendum and holding back reconciliation.

“It’s just nonsense to me. I’ve traveled this country weekly, it’s part of my business and my private life, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who didn’t have goodwill towards Aboriginal people and solve the problems we have in this country moving forward.

“I think this is just a scare tactic by the Yes campaign; to say that reconciliation is dead is nonsense. I am committed to reconciliation.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese dismissed calls for migrants to be included, saying voters would make up their own minds about the motives behind the call.

“There is a special place in this nation for the oldest continuous culture on earth, which has been here for at least 60,000 years, for thousands of generations,” he said. “This must be recognized in our country’s birth certificate.”

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton will meet with members of the federal government’s referendum working group on Thursday. Mr Dutton will be joined by Julian Leeser, the coalition’s spokesman for Indigenous Australians.

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