Quarterly Essay – A Rightful Place
A Rightful Place: Race, recognition and a more complete commonwealth
In A Rightful Place, Noel Pearson shows how the idea of “race” was embedded in the Constitution, and the distorting effect this has had. Now there is a chance to change it – if we can agree on a way forward.
Pearson shows what Constitutional recognition means, and what it could make possible: true equality and a renewed appreciation of an ancient culture.
This is a wide-ranging, eloquent call for justice, an essay of remarkable power that traverses history and culture to make the case for change.
The nation has unfinished business. After more than two centuries, can a rightful place be found for the original peoples of the land?
“As long as we have a constitution that characterises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the basis of race, it will always have deleterious implications for their citizenship. It must be removed … This is not just a matter of symbolism. I think this will be a matter of psychology. The day we come to regard ourselves as people with a distinct heritage, with distinct cultures and languages but not of a distinct race, will be a day of psychological liberation. And it will also be liberating for those in the wider community …”
– Noel Pearson, A Rightful Place