Does Australia’s Constitution have racism?
Australia’s Constitution adopted on 1 January 1901 had 3 clauses explicitly concerned with race (see below).In 1901 it was commented that “It enables the Parliament to deal with the people of any alien race after they have entered the Commonwealth; to localise them within defined areas, to restrict their migration, to confine them to certain occupations, or to give them special protection and secure their return after a certain period to the country whence they came.”
DELETED ENTIRELY BY REFERENDUM IN 1967
‘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’.
STRUCK OUT BY REFERENDUM 1967
Section 51(xxvi) still provides that the Commonwealth Parliament can legislate 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’. This is the so-called, ‘races power’.
Section 25 recognised that the States could disqualify people from voting in the elections on account of their race.
I am puzzled that Section 25 continues and wonder under what scenario Australian authorities would need this clause, over and above legislation that would apply to non-Indigenous people? Do the concerns above still apply and need the remaining provisions? Or do new concerns warrant their retention? Is it feared that the non-Indigenous population (3%) could passively resist, as did Hindus in India (80%) against the British occupiers in 1919-1930? Or that they could oppose the government, as did Black Africans (75%) in South Africa before 1986? Or perhaps some immigrant race’s misbehaviour could not be controlled by the laws that control the rest of Australians?
My fiction novel The Grass Is Always Browner tells a story of Australia’s ethnic development 250 years in the future. http://www.martinknox.wordpress.com