7:30: Calls for recognition of Indigenous Australians

Discover why many Australians believe the time has come to change the Australian Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history.

This program from January 2012 examines the debate about how this change might be achieved.

It looks at the growing call for our constitution to recognise and advance Indigenous people’s culture, heritage and languages.

See the full teaching resource and watch the video to answer the following questions.


Things to think about

  1. How much has been achieved in the struggle for the rights and freedoms of Indigenous Australians in the past half-century? Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples suffered many forms of racial discrimination from the early years of British colonisation in the late 18th century until very recent times. Until 1967, Indigenous Australians were not even counted in Australia’s population figures.
  2. The reporter says, ‘Aboriginal Australians were all but invisible in the sixties’. What images in the clip support this statement? Why was Faith Bandler surprised by the level of support for the 1967 referendum? What does former Australian prime minister Julia Gillard say about the need to change the Constitution to recognise Indigenous Australians? According to Mark Leibler (wearing a jacket and blue tie), what percentage of voters supported the 1967 referendum?
  3. The 1967 Referendum changed the Constitution to allow the Commonwealth Parliament to make laws for Indigenous Australian peoples and to repeal a section that said that they were not to be counted in the population. Faith Bandler was the director of the New South Wales campaign for a ‘yes’ vote. Find out about her life and her role in the campaign that led to the referendum.
  4. The 1967 Referendum was an important constitutional step in ending some forms of discrimination that denied legal equality to Indigenous Australians. Considering the very high level of support for the referendum, why do you think experts have been divided over the proposal for a further referendum to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples special recognition in the constitution?
Teachers Click Here

Many of these resources and activities have been developed in consultation with NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to ensure that the program meets NSW curriculum outcomes for Stages 3, 4 & 5.