Tasmania Premier Will Hodgman
Celebrating Constitutional Recognition
Victor P Taffa
Today we have witnessed the passing of the Constitution Amendment (Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal People) Bill 2016 into law, with the signing of Royal Assent.
Earlier this year, in a relatively uncommon occurrence, our Parliament unanimously supported an amendment to the preamble of the Tasmanian Constitution Act to include the following;
“And whereas the Parliament, on behalf of all the people of Tasmania, acknowledges the Aboriginal people as Tasmania’s First People and the traditional and original owners of Tasmanian lands and waters; recognises the enduring spiritual, social, cultural and economic importance of traditional lands and waters to Tasmanian Aboriginal people; and recognises the unique and lasting contributions that Tasmanian Aboriginal people have made and continue to make to Tasmania”
This is a statement of fact that has been absent from the laws that constituted Tasmania as a State of the Commonwealth of Australia today we add that missing chapter, Premier Will Hodgman said.
A remarkable story of over 40 000 years of continuous Aboriginal heritage and occupation that is imprinted on this island’s diverse landscapes and through its people; the longest unbroken thread of human culture on the planet.
“This change will not fix everything, but it is another important step towards reconciliation.”
“I am proud to be Premier at the time that we fix our State’s Constitution to properly include within it recognition of Aboriginal People as Tasmania’s First People.” Premier Hodgman said.