Syed Atiq ul Hassan, Sydney Australia
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese promised the First Nation a special constitutional place in Parliament a few months ago while attending the annual Garma Festival of the First Nation Australians.
As part of a change in structure, the Prime Minister said that representatives of indigenous people will be integrated into the parliamentary system, so that the indigenous people’s issues and demands can be brought to the parliament on a regular basis, as with other legislative issues.
Through the inclusion of representatives of the First Nation in the parliamentary houses, the First Nation can raise its concerns. As part of the Australian constitution, they should be a part of the democratic process to pass bills and legislate them. Acceptance of them as a real first nation must touch the hearts of the first nation, not just through diplomatic sweet words but through genuine acceptance as first owners. Australian leaders, politicians, and VIPs must say “acknowledging the first owner of this land” instead of “acknowledging the traditional owner“.
With the longstanding issue of the First Nation claiming their true rights to the lands, the Albanese’s promise brought the First Nation great peace and pleasure.
The indigenous people are constitutionally equal to other Australian citizens, but their living standards and facilities are below average. Often, it is seen that the Aboriginal affairs and projects ministry are held by Anglo-Saxons.
Since many First Nation members live in remote areas of Australia, government representatives are unable to reach them or address their long-standing and basic life issues on a regular basis. For instance, in many remote towns and villages, there is no internet connection and there are no modern medical clinics. The internet facility if available is so expensive that it is out of reach of most people and also poor in quality and expensive.
As a result of Prime Minister Albanese’s announcement that Aboriginal people would receive special representation in the National Assembly, a debate among Australian political parties and leaders began. Through the media, the legal expert offered a variety of suggestions to the public. On this issue, the opposition Liberal Party is divided. The National Assembly and the Senate are the two houses of government in Australia, as in other democratic countries.
Wouldn’t it make sense to create a third house made up of First Nations representatives? Rather than creating a third house, the Greens argue that the First Nation people should be given additional seats in the existing National Assembly. A third house would complicate the current two-house system. The composition, functions, and powers of the third house, along with how the powers of the third house will relate to those of the National Assembly and Senate. As a result, the current parliamentary process will be complicated. For instance, will the Bill be brought to the National Assembly and Senate after passing in the Third House? Will it be limited to Aboriginal issues if so?
So on and so forth the parliamentary process will be further disarrayed if such a system is adopted without achieving the goal of First Nations participation. A third house has also been supported by former Prime Minister Scott Morrison and many representatives of the Liberal Party.
Many political analysts and legal experts say those advocating the third house don’t want the First Nation’s voice to be included in the current democratic system. According to them, this special third house does not belong in any democratic system. Prime Minister Albanese should bring the First Nations’ voice constitutionally into the democratic system, but the proponents of the third house are afraid to do so.
Many senior politicians in the Liberal, white fundamentalist One Nation Party do not want Aboriginal voices to be equated with the authority of white rulers.
Observing the mourning of Queen Elizabeth II, the late queen of Great Britain II, on September 22 further infuriated the members of the Aborigines. As a result, they protested in major cities and towns against the monarchy’s rule and the native people’s rights.
In spite of the fact that Australia has a democratic system, the Australian rulers still prefer to remain under the influence of the British crown, which is why a national holiday and official mourning were announced after the death of the Queen of Great Britain in Australia.
There has been no holiday announced on the day of the birth or death of any ancient leader.
Several younger Australians criticized the official holiday following the Queen’s death on social media. The government structure of Australia should not be influenced by monarchies since it is a free and democratic society.
Australia’s democratic system, its power, and its decisions are not influenced by the UK, other than the fact that the Crown appoints Australia’s Governor-General, who has no democratic powers. In reality, Australian citizens require a visa in order to visit England. (The writer is a Sydney-based journalist, his email address is email@example.com ).
Syed Atiq ul Hassan,
Editor, Tribune International,
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