About Mellek Steel

Mellek Steel is a blue-collar schmo who traded the city in for the bush. Alongside his inability to write a gripping bio, he's keen on fishing and whatever footy team is presently losing the most.

The constitutional recognition debate will be the plebiscite for indigenous australians

Yesterday, Ken Wyatt discussed his plan for constitutional recognition. Today, Uluru is packed with people climbing the rock before the ban. The debate about including us is set to exclude us, and be typically ugly.



Yesterday, Ken Wyatt, the new minister for Indigenous Affairs proclaimed that constitutional recognition will come “within three years”.

There are some within the indigenous community dismissing the news with a wave of the hand, after all this is the same government that appointed Tony Abbott to a similar position, ignored the Uluru declaration and dismissed Clinton Pryor, the Yulparitja man who walked 5,500 kilometres country to break bread with Malcolm Turnbull.

Suffice to say, I do believe it will happen, and I believe that outcome will be far far worse. You see, we’ve been here before, a needless debate on a national scale, discussing something that should already exist. The Great Marriage Equality Debate may have enabled a vote that squeaked through, and a great acidic moment of relief was savoured, but what was lesser-known, or perhaps, less heeded, was the unnecessary subjugation that the LGBTQ+ community faced before during, and after the debate. Macro instances of hate, that never made the front pages or most popular tweets. Instances of abuse in transit, or followed home, or dragged on social media, all because it was ok to say no.

I fear we’re set to experience a repeat, substituting race for sexual preference. The conditions of aboriginality are set to be defined in the public eye, and I fear we will have to prove we’ve earned it, through the words of people talking on our behalf.

It has begun in earnest as the nonsense of minority backbenchers has already proven this to be gospel, with Craig Kelly stating that he’d campaign against the ‘no’ side of the discussion towards recognising us in the constitution, stating that the “words in the constitution that don’t really mean anything, that are symbolic, then that’s fine”.

Elsewhere, news has been made by the feet of tourists walking up Uluru prior to the ban, with the ABC noting that camping grounds are beyond capacity, leaving some tourists to camp on the side of the road.



Later in the same article, A marriage celebrant named Meredith Campell explained that she had been going to site for years in a professional capacity, but never has she it witnessed so many people. “On Sunday I went to the Ayers Rock campground to meet a marrying couple and at the reception there, they were just like processional caterpillars; caravan after caravan, arriving, arriving, arriving.” She described overflowing bins, high volumes of traffic, and long lines for concessions. “It’s taken days to relieve the stress, there are so many stressed people down there,” she said.”



The ribbon of shorts winding up Uluru illustrates an obvious part of the problem, as those who have been asked not to climb it out of respect, are doing so while they still can, are easy to identify, but Meredith represents the other problematic part of the discussion. In evoking the settler’s name of the rock (and wilfully profiting from the use of it), while offering backhanded support to the custodians of the land, is also the problem, and certainly what the white side of the debate is set to be: racism versus veiled racism.

The entirety of this discussion, should it be opened to the public, or even the representatives they’ve elected, will merely be yet another opportunity to air long-standing discriminations, and the elevation of white voices over black, advancing the former and not the latter. After all, it has happened before.







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