Recognise campaign leads the change

Hard work: Joe Archibald, Steve Donovan and Jamie Donovan painting Quinn and MJ Donovan from the DHOOGANG dancers in preparation for a dance at the Recognise campaign visit to Port Macquarie.
Hard work: Joe Archibald, Steve Donovan and Jamie Donovan painting Quinn and MJ Donovan from the DHOOGANG dancers in preparation for a dance at the Recognise campaign visit to Port Macquarie.

CONSTITUTIONAL recognition was on the agenda at the Aboriginal Lands Council this week.

The Recognise Campaign aims to generate awareness and to help ensure there is no place for racial discrimination in the Australian constitution.

So far the relay has covered more than 290 events in over 200 communities across two and a half years as it makes its way across the country.

Hastings residents Steve Donovan and Joe Archibald believe it is important to have the discussion about racial discrimination.

"It's the first step in an important conversation for the nation," Mr Archibald said.

"We're not all reflected in the flag or the anthem so we need to give time for people to understand because it can be a confronting conversation, but it's one we need to start to have."

Colouring in: Cyann and Tamarra Holten doing art work at the Recognise campaign visit to Port Macquarie.

Colouring in: Cyann and Tamarra Holten doing art work at the Recognise campaign visit to Port Macquarie.

Mr Donovan said it was important to recognise all Australians were the same.

"We're all one mob," he said.

"We need to come together, appreciate each other and put our differences aside. We need to recognise who each other are and we all share the same land so it's about sharing that culture with each other."

Kamilaroi and Anaiwan Elder Uncle Steve "Dugan" Widders said the current constitution was outdated and needed to change.

"We can't live under a document which was written in 1901," he said.

"We can't change the past but we can change the future. There is no recognition for aboriginal people in the highest legal document in the country because they were seen as uncivilised, savage natives."

Organiser Emma Crother said it was an important movement to generate awareness particularly in regional communities such as Port Macquarie.

"We're speaking to grassroots communities to make them feel a part of what's going on," she said.

"We need to recognise the traditional owners of the land are the Aboriginal people and Australia is ready to have the conversation. "

Hopefully in 2017 the constitution can be changed because it's not reflective of the country we're in now.

"The whole journey is about empowering communities such as Port Macquarie and giving them the opportunity to have their say."