Indigenous Labor MP Linda Burney and controversial commentator Andrew Bolt — worlds apart on the question of whether Australia’s Constitution should be changed to recognise Aboriginal Australians — explore opposing viewpoints in a special to be aired on the ABC next Tuesday.
Burney says recognising Aboriginal Australians in the Constitution would heal wounds, help with reconciliation and build the nation, but Bolt argues it would be a racist act in itself that will divide rather than unite Australians.
Aiming to change each other’s views the pair embark on a four-week journey to seek out the opinions of community leaders, lobbyists and lawmakers in Australia and New Zealand. The result is the documentary, Recognition: Yes or No?
They begin in the NSW town of Whitton where Burney was born the illegitimate daughter of a white woman of Scottish heritage and an Aboriginal man.
Their quest also takes them to the Northern Territory, North Queensland, most of Australia’s capital cities and NZ.
The people whose opinions they canvas along the way include journalist Stan Grant, co-leader of NZ’s Maori Party Marama Fox, newly appointed royal commissioner Mick Gooda and former NZ Prime Minister Jim Bolger.
Bolger tells them the easy bit is changing the Constitution.
“The demanding bit is how then are you going to implement the concept of equality under the law (and) equality of opportunity…” he says.
“We allocated twenty percent of the fisheries of the ocean to Maori and we’re doing the same with land settlement.”
- Recognition: Yes or No? airs on the ABC on Tuesday September 20 at 8.30pm and and on ABC iView.