The Minefield - interview with Megan Davis

In terms of the treatment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the last three weeks in Australian politics have been a horror-show.

It began with the grotesque revelations of Systematic abuse - even torture - at the Don Dale Juvenile Detention Centre int he NT, followed immediately by the faltering, contentious commencement of a Royal Commission in abuse in such centres, and then reached its obscene apogee with Bill Leak's retooling of a age-olf racist steroetype of delinquent Aboriginal dads.

In all this, it is not hard to detect a lingering odour of paternalistic colonialism: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples must always be the objects of political action, but never partners much less political agents in their own rights.

There is thus good reason to be suspicious of the political climate in which a contitutional recognition is now being discussed.

Is consitutional recogniation, without  permanent settlement or 'Treaty' with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, designed to placate non-Indigenous Australians with the appearance of change? Can Australian politics have moral legitimacy without formalising Indigenous representation withing the parlimentary process?

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