IPA Today

Race has No Place In the Constitution – MP’s Should Follow Nationals Lead

Written by
28 November 2022

“The decision by the Nationals to oppose the Voice to Parliament in the foreshadowed referendum demonstrates leadership at a time when Canberra and inner-city elites have never been more enthusiastic about dividing Australians by race,” said Morgan Begg, Director of the Legal Rights Program at the Institute of Public Affairs.

The egalitarian spirit which drove Australians to vote in 1967 to remove constitutional references to race remains a mainstream Australian value. Race has no place in our constitution.

“As Senator Jacinta Nampijinpa Price said today, it is not racist to disagree with a proposal. Institute of Public Affairs’ research has established that all Australians should be equal, and the legal status of Australians should never be determined by skin colour or ethnic heritage,” said Mr Begg.

“The Nationals’ position is consistent with the values of mainstream Australians. A growing majority of mainstream Australians share the egalitarian belief that we are all equal and that race has no place in the constitution.”

Recent research conducted by the IPA showed that when Australians were asked to agree or disagree with the statement: “All references to race should be removed from Australia’s constitution”:

  • 59% agreed
  • 29% neither agreed nor disagreed
  • Only 12% disagreed.

Importantly, this result represents an increase of Australians who want references to race taken out of our constitution. When asked the same question in December 2019, it was found 45% of Australians supported repealing constitutional references to race, whereas 16% disagreed.

“Establishing an indigenous-only body in our constitution would permanently divide Australians by race, and on that basis alone the proposed referendum must be shelved,” Mr Begg said.

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Morgan Begg

Morgan Begg is the Director, Legal Rights Program at the Institute of Public Affairs

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