The story so far…

The Australian Constitution was drafted by the six Australian colonies (known as States after Federation in 1901) at the end of the 19th Century and approved in referendums held from 1898-1900. At Federation, there were only two references to Aboriginal people in the body of the Australian Constitution:

  • Section 51(xxvi): the so-called 'race power', conferred on Parliament the power to make laws with respect to 'the people of any race, other than the aboriginal race in any State, for whom it is deemed necessary to make special laws'.
  • Section 127 provided: 'In reckoning the numbers of the people of the Commonwealth, or of a State or other part of the Commonwealth, aboriginal natives shall not be counted.'

 

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