Support welcomed for constitutional recognition

The Prime Minister’s continuing commitment to constitutional recognition is exciting and we are pleased that Reconciliation Australia will take a lead role in engaging and educating Australians on this important topic.

Recognition and reconciliation go hand in hand. This past year we have been out in the community talking about the importance of recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our nation’s founding document. What we heard is there’s an appetite for change. But what we also heard was most people are unaware of what the current situation is.

For example, many people assume that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are already recognised in the Constitution and most are unaware that laws exist that can exclude or discriminate against any group based on race.

If we are to change this we need a majority of Australians to agree this does not reflect who we are today. Over 100 years ago the people of six colonies came together to write a Constitution and form a nation.

In 1967 we voted overwhelmingly YES to change that Constitution to allow Aboriginal people to be counted in the census.

What we have before us is an opportunity now to bring that Constitution into line with our modern thinking and values of equality for all Australians. Building public awareness is the next step towards constitutional change and we want to hear your thoughts and opinions.

We want to keep the conversation going.

We want to spread the word.

And we want you to be part of changes that make us a better nation now and into the future.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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