Strong support to remove race from constitution: ANU Poll
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Strong support to remove race from constitution: ANU Poll

October 18, 2019

The poll was focused on Indigenous issues, its the first ANU poll to have a focus on these issues. It asked a range of questions about Australian’s attitudes towards indigenous issues, how significant they were whether they thought a range of government policies had gone to far, or not gone far enough or were about right. It also asked about constitutional recognition which is a very topical issue at the moment. The constitution, in 1967 referendum it removed references to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but there are two references to race. And so there is a current discussion, debate whether those references should be removed. and when asked about this the vast majority of people supported or strongly supported the removal of mention of race as a sort of form of discrimination. There was also very strong support for recognition of Aboriginal cultures and traditions and as being first people in the constitution. We found that the vast majority of Australians see issues of welfare dependence and social disadvantage as important or very important for Australia, not just for Indigenous peoples but for Australia as a whole. There was strong support also for native title, land rights, constitutional recognition and particularly for self determination. This idea that people should be able to choose for themselves there own way of life and have real control and influence over decisions which impact upon them and their lives. Well about one third of people think that injustices are all in the past, and about two thirds, or a bit over two thirds of people thought that injustices towards Indigenous people continued today. So there is a recognition that injustices continue, theres also a strong recognition that the responsibility for many of the issues faced by Indigenous people are not primarily Indidgenous people primarily responsible for there own problems, seventeen percent of people said that, but half said they were shared responsibility caused by both the attitudes of other Australians, and government policies and Indigenous people themselves, and about a third of people said that problems were primarily due to the attitudes of other Australians and government policies. So the poll found that about eighty percent of people thought that Aboriginal people should be able to choose there own way of life. There was strong support for cultural difference and the right to that. And there was strong support for additional government assistance to recognise disadvantage. So in broad terms and we didn’t ask specifically about this question of where people live and whether that is a life style choice, but people would support people making choices and that there is a recognition of people’s connection to land and there rights to land and native title, so its a complex issue, there are many factors but that kind of statement is not really sort of broad level supported by the findings from this poll.

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