A Vitally Important Evening

Next Quadrant dinner: Wednesday May 24, 2017
Union, University and Schools Club, Sydney

The Quadrant Constitutional Convention


Keynote speakers: Gary Johns, Keith Windschuttle,
Chris Kenny, Anthony Dillon, David Flint

TO MARK the 50th anniversary of the successful Constitutional referendum of 1967 that gave the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal people, Quadrant will host a Constitutional Convention to examine current proposals for their further Constitutional recognition.

To date, the Turnbull government has staged 12 regional Constitutional Conventions around Australia to discuss these proposals, with a final national convention at Uluru from May 24 to 26. However, all these conventions have been reserved exclusively for indigenous people. So far, no one in mainstream politics or the media has seen fit to query this exercise in segregation or to call for even one convention to be staged to represent the great majority of the Australian population.

To fill this glaring defect in our political debate, Quadrant has invited a genuinely diverse range of speakers — both for and against recognition — to argue their positions at a Constitutional Convention and dinner in Sydney on Wednesday May 24.

As is usual at these Quadrant functions, questions and comments will also be invited from diners. We plan to video all proceedings and publish full transcripts of the Convention debate so that the wider public, whose votes will eventually decide this issue, will be much better informed than they are at present.

Do not miss the opportunity to attend this historic event. Register now.


Venue: Union, University and Schools Club, 25 Bent Street, Sydney

Date and Time: Wednesday, May 24, 2017.    Drinks 6pm–7pm; dinner from 7pm

Cost: $84 per person.                      Dress: Jacket and tie

Make cheques payable to Quadrant, and send to

Quadrant Magazine, Locked Bag 1235, North Melbourne VIC 3051.

Credit card: You can phone or fax credit card details – card brand, card number, name on card, expiry date, plus (important) your own phone number. Sorry no Amex, to Phone (03) 8317 8147, Fax (03) 9320 9065. Please do not send credit card numbers via email – simply email your request and a contact phone number to


and we will call you back to process your ticket request.

12 thoughts on “A Vitally Important Evening

  • johnjfryan@optusnet.com.au says:


  • PT says:

    It is reasonable to consult Aboriginal communities as to what they expect from “recognition”. It is plainly ridiculous to not consult with the bulk of the community! The problem, of course, is that aboriginal expectations are going to be much, MUCH more than the general community imagines supposedly “innocuous” things to mean. So called “Anglos” get no special recognition in the Constitution, even though our forefathers built this community and legal system. Shouldn’t that also be “recognised” in the preamble – especially given this on going “multicultural society” stuff we always get told – but somehow our traditions, from Bonfire Night, to today even Easter and Christmas (held by many non-Anglos around the world) and questioned and diminished? It is surely essential to find out if “recognition” would give Aboriginal Activists and Communities what they think they want, otherwise there will be years of litigation and bad blood! The absence of mutual respect in this does not auger well. I would point out that the practice of non-Aboriginal Anoriginal partisans does seem to be ultimately based on the notion that whatever “concessions” are made to Aboriginals, it won’t really cost them anything! Peter Garrett and Midnight Oil are classic examples! In Beds are Burning, they’ve made huge “promises” but backed off from them! How many of these people seriously want to convert Aboriginals into a 2% landowning caste (caste, not class, you cans change your class)? I’d say zip, unless it’s someone else who pays! The utter hypocracy of these people makes me sick.

  • padraic says:

    This Aboriginal “Recognition” stuff is all part of the “Culture Wars” in which we are currently engaged. History is being rewritten with “invasion” a formal “war” and “genocide”, etc now all the fashion. The other big thing is a refusal by the Aboriginal activists and their white self-loathing leftoid advisers to recognise the Australian identity which encompasses all citizens with equal rights before the law. They use this to push for an apartheid state for the Aborigines or to take over all of Australia and rule the rest of us through some unspecified political system (if they will control 60% of the land then this is a real possibility). That was one of the main reasons why I supported the 1999 referendum on an independent Commonwealth of Australia. It was not, as David Flint surmises, because of a dislike of the Queen. I have never met her and only waved to her in 1954 as she drove by our school group at an oval in Concord. She seems a thoroughly decent and genuine human being. Australia needs to have that type of identity that the Americans have. The Americans realised their casual, laid-back presumed identity was at risk when all those migrants began pouring in at the end of the 19th Century and began setting up mini ethnic states in their urban ghettos. Their response was to promote American history and traditional national civic values in schools and elsewhere. In Australia we are facing a similar situation. Most overseas people learn about Australia at their schools in their homeland mainly about the 190,000 or so convicts who were sent here from 1788 up to just before the Goldrush. When you add to that having the Queen of England as our Head of State and being on or currency the perception is that we are not “natives” but still “settlers”, owing allegiance to an overseas power. This perception of “settlers” is worked to death by Aboriginal activists to justify separation and some migrant groups also push this line. Even Parliamentarians of immediate migrant origin often say “We are all migrants”. Well, I’m sorry, but I am not a migrant. I have nothing against migrants but integrating migrants is not helped by not having a robust sense of national identity and this spawns some interesting viewpoints, as shown in the following statement by a well known migrant from Lebanon – and he is not on his own with views like this….

    “The criminal dregs of white society colonised this country and now, they only take the select choice of other societies, and the descendants of these criminal dregs tell us that they are better than us. And because we are not elitist, we tolerate them. Yet they want us to assimilate, perhaps they will only become satisfied when we each dye our hair red, wear blue/green contact lenses, and operate a fish and chips shop, otherwise, we would not be truly assimilating, would we?”

    This is reflective of how the Aboriginal activists are lumping us “native-borns” in with migrants. They say we are part of the “Multicultural Society” whereas they are not.

    At the moment no-one knows what is behind all these slogans “Recognition, Self-Determination, etc” so the Constitutional Convention” listed above is a timely initiative and may help clarify the situation for the average Australian who has been denied any real information as to what is going on.

    • denandsel@optusnet.com.au says:

      I agree with much of your assessment about this being just a part of the ‘culture wars’. Australian history has been. and is still being, ‘rewritten’ in an Orwellian fashion to suit the collectivist/socialist agenda.
      I am a proud Australian, 8 generations on my father’s side [going back to convicts at Port Arthur], 5 generations on my mother’s side. I am married to a first generation Australian, the daughter of genuine refugees [from Latvia] escaping the murderous excesses of communism after WW2. That said, my wife and I both resent and oppose the concept of ‘multiculturalism’, it is purely an anti-western concept, and even though I am an atheist it also has anti-Christian connotations.
      Australia is proudly a multiracial/multi-ethnic society, but it is not and should never be a ‘multi-cultural’ one. I am [and we all should be] proud of our existing culture, the Australian culture. I have worked overseas and to my mind the Australian culture is amongst the most welcoming in the world. It accepts and welcomes all those who are prepared to fit in, and it even allows other to add to it, but doesn’t, and should never, allow attempts to replace it or to subvert/downgrade it.

  • padraic says:

    Initially I was dubious about the value of these 12 regional conventions, but upon reflection they may give us an inkling of exactly what those Aboriginals pushing for “Recognition” actually want, so the rest of us can assess the situation properly. As mentioned previously all we have got so far are ill-defined slogans. Possibly, the Government was in the same boat and this will give all of us the necessary details of what is proposed.

    • Warty says:

      For the life of me I cannot understand why anyone would vote in favour of a republic, because of inaccurate perceptions regarding Australian history. Being utterly objective and clear headed one would have to agree that we have an Australian head of state in the current GG. Being equally clear headed and objective, one would have to acknowledge there is no allegiance to any foreign power. One might even argue that we are closer to the USA than we are to Britain . . . now . . . today.
      There are those who argue that Australia Day ought to be held on a different day, because that day was in fact an ‘invasion’ day. It’s a perception, an equally erroneous one and the general response is ‘bugger off; invasion day is a load of codswallop; go celebrate on another day is you wish, and the rest of us will continue as usual’.

      • padraic says:

        Warty, I’m happy to accept the Governor-General as our Head of State, but the Constitution says otherwise – it’s the Queen. OK, some argue that her powers are redundant, so why not formalise that by removing references to her in the Constitution? Life would go on unchanged but recognition of Australia as an independent nation would change the migrant integration dynamic as I have outlined above. We would not be a republic, but still a Commonwealth. “Republic” belongs to the latte-sipping set. “Invasion Day” is pathetic, I agree. You can’t change history. The 26th was the genesis of the modern Australian nation State. I did not say that we owe allegiance to a foreign power, but that it was a perception harboured by many migrants who have a very sketchy knowledge of Australian constitutional history and base their views on what they see. We would still speak English and enjoy excellent relations with UK and other members of the Anglosphere and be proud of our cultural heritage and legal and political framework all slightly modified over time.

        • Warty says:

          No, I’m sorry if you thought I implied that you thought we owed allegiance ‘to an overseas power’, though I didn’t actually say so: you were talking about the perception, and I do indeed understand you are referring to people overseas (albeit an argument pro Republic people have used) though I haven’t as yet come across any evidence to suggest Indonesians, Japs, Koreans, Russians, Scandinavians or Italians might think this, or anyone else for that matter.
          You possibly object to the term ‘Republic’, belonging to the ‘latte-sipping set’, but this is the very group pushing that side of the debate. When you have the likes of an utter drop-kick like Peter Fitzsimmons sticking his oar in, then the likes of a padraic would have little say in what term might be used; and anyway, I think one should call a ‘spade’ a ‘spade’ and not an ‘almond friand’, or something equally delectable.
          Now, I’m going to be rather rude and suggest your Irish ancestry might have a little to do with your support for this synonym for ‘Republic’ (I haven’t thought of one yet). So if I can tell you a little story that seems at odds with my Monarchist stand.
          I was a teenager when Rhodesia declared UDI (unilateral declaration of independence). Harold Wilson imposed sanctions and a naval blockade of our main port (well it wasn’t ours, it was in Portuguese East Africa). The Queen signed off on the requisite legislation. From that point on my mother refused to stand for what was still our national anthem (God Save the Queen) and the rest of the family, my father included, had to follow suit. It caught on around the country like wild fire. The hatred towards the British, and Marxist Harold Wilson in particular was palpable. Since then, most Rhodesians have been able to separate the policies of a socialist, anti colonial government from the Monarchy.
          Having lived in Australia since November 1970 I have become an ardent supporter of our Constitutional Monarchy, meaning personal history has faded into the background and the reality of our situation taken precedent. Now, having said all this, your name may have nothing to do with your stance at all.

          • padraic says:

            You’re right, Warty, my pen-name has nothing to do with my views on the Australian polity. That is derived from my own rational experiences and from my Australian-born ancestors whose migrant origins were from a variety of European backgrounds and whose hard work and love of the land in which they were born inspired me. I grew up in an Australo-centric environment but was brought up to respect other people and their opinions and I can appreciate your ardent support for the UK Monarchy, although it differs from my view. On most other things we are in accord. We are a people, we are a nation.

  • jonreinertsen@bigpond.com says:

    OK they have consulted 12, I had 130 communities in my last Parish! The WA resolution to the SW land claim was derailed because they missed some of the land holders. It is apparently all or nothing! Legally it seems every single person has to be consulted, good luck with that!

  • Jody says:

    I would have thought that the aboriginal community has far, far more pressing things to be considering than “Recognition”. Endemic poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse, unemployment and crime. They must put this house in order first instead of wondering what colour carpet they should lay.

  • joelane94@hotmail.com says:

    Okay, now we’re post-Uluru. We know the wish-list, in all its incoherence. Given that Indigenous people have had pretty much equal rights for sometime now, apart from modifications to ILUAs and Native Title, what is the need for any further -above and beyond equality – agreement ? a.k.a. a treaty ? Of course, without that step, the whole push for a separate State etc. collapses.

    Any ‘Treaty’ would be for ALL of us, all Australians. So we are entitled also, in the unlikely event that there is one, to have a say in what should be in one. I hope that, if a Referendum is ever held, that the only item in a Treaty proposal will be “complete equal rights for all Australians” and that’s the end of it.

    Clearly, much more will be proposed, eventually, if the various Indigenous elites can ever get their act together. But equally clearly, a Treaty to their liking would lead to further demands, for a separate State, and then on to demands for a (Canberra-funded) separate Indigenous Nation. Clearly then, the thrust for a Treaty is not only divisive but separatist. Meanwhile kids are suiciding in remote communities.

    80% of the Indigenous population lives in our/their and cities. Few will move to remote areas, where presumably, a separate state would be based. The elites certainly won’t be moving to Ernabella or Doomadgee any time soon. Demographically, the great majority of those urban populations have been born and bred there, and they will study, work and marry there. Up to 90 % of working Indigenous people inter-marry, so each generation (say 25 years) is that much less attached to the rural areas that their grandparents and now their great-grand-parents came from. Their affection for those areas is a bit like mine for Fermanagh or Denbighshire or Shropshire: love to visit them one day, but not high on my list of priorities: I can always watch it on SBS.

    So in a host of ways, the separatist push is totally out of step with what most Indigenous people intend to do with their lives – but that’s not to say that it won’t blight them.

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