The 2017 Annual ANU Reconciliation Lecture: Reconciliation, Treaty Making and Nation Building

Mr Peter Yu is a Yawuru Man from Broome in the Kimberley region in North West Australia with over 35 years experience in Indigenous development and advocacy in the Kimberley and at the state, national and international level.

He has been an advocate for the social, cultural and economic advancement and well being of Kimberley and other Aboriginal communities for his entire career. Over this period he has been instrumental in the development of many community based regional organisations.

Australia is a better nation than the political system which represents us. The failure of successive national governments and parliaments to forge pathways to recognise Indigenous peoples in the nation’s Constitution is a failure of Australia’s body politic. Peter Yu contends that constitutional recognition should not be viewed as another contentious issue – accompanied by political cajoling and maneuvering - to be ticked off along the linear trajectory of Australian nation building. It should be understood as fundamental to our moral and ethical national character akin to the tenets of the French Revolution – Liberty, Equality and Fraternity – and those self-evident truths consecrated in the American Declaration of Independence.

Embracing Indigenous peoples in our Constitution is pivotal to a new relationship between Indigenous peoples and Settler Australians and a renaissance of the modern Australian State. Without this recognition the Australian nation remains tied to it colonial and bloodstained past. We are a nation denied the potential for a reconciled history after four decades of public discussion and advocacy.

Updated:  22 November 2017/Responsible Officer:  General Manager/Page Contact:  Science Web Services