Tanya Hosch, Joint Campaign Director of RECOGNISE was the keynote speaker at our 2016 NRW Breakfast. She was the event’s final speaker and wrapped up the morning by sharing her considerable knowledge about the long fought battle for constitutional reform. Tanya reflected on the 1967 Referendum and the significant role it played in shifting Australia’s perception of itself and in forging the path for self-determination movements.
Tanya noted that calls for meaningful reform go back decades, long before the campaign took its current shape and that like any campaign for a change that matters, the longer it goes on the harder it gets. This, she said, is the time for supporters to step up because real change is never secured without a fight. Like the activists of the 1967 Referendum, some of who were in the room, Tanya urged the audience to stay the course.
The most important message of Tanya’s speech is that constitutional recognition is no threat to the legitimate aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples - Treaty and constitutional recognition can co-exist. Tanya noted that in Melbourne last week, the significant meetings on a Victorian Treaty were being held. At the same time in Perth, the architects of the Noongar agreement continue to roll out its historic suite of measures for compensation, land and title rights. If the referendum had been held last week, and constitutional recognition achieved, it would not have prevented either of these from eventuating.
You can read Tanya's entire speech here.