Insights from Quadrant

Black and white
and wrong all over

Peter O’Brien writes:

In September 2022, in a debate on Sky News, constitutional expert Dr Shireen Morris claimed that the Constitution ‘explicitly excluded Aborigines’.  In using the word ‘explicitly’, she can only have been referring to the original Section 51(xxvi) or Section 127 as these are the only sections that explicitly referred to Aborigines.

As should now be apparent to readers, Section 51(xxvi) did not exclude Aborigines from the Commonwealth or the Constitution.  It merely excluded them from the class of people for whom the Commonwealth could make special laws, because that was the responsibility of the states.  As British subjects resident in Australia at the time, Aborigines were subject to every other provision of the Constitution in the same way that white people were. 

Section 127,  repealed in 1967, only constrained government from counting Aboriginal people in

reckoning the numbers of people of the Commonwealth or a State or other part of the Commonwealth.

It did not exclude them from any other provision of the Constitution.

Chris Kenny quoted this myth in an article in The AustralianI called him out about it here.   Obviously, he didn’t read my piece because he repeated that nonsense on his Sky News show last night (Feb 6).

And, amazingly, in arguing that the Voice would be only a benign force for good, he cited the example of Victoria also implementing a Voice.  I have shown here that the Victorian First People’s Assembly is nothing like what Kenny claims the Voice will be.


Leave a Reply