A Rightful Place
Race, recognition and a more complete commonwealth
The nation has unfinished business. After more than two centuries, can a rightful place be found for Australia’s original peoples?
Soon we will all decide if and how indigenous Australians will be recognised in the constitution. In the words of Professor Greg Craven: “We have a committed prime minister, and a committed opposition. We have a receptive electorate. There will never be a better time. We have no choice but to address the question. If constitutions deal with fundamental things, our indigenous heritage is pretty fundamental.”
In A Rightful Place, Noel Pearson shows how the idea of “race” was embedded in the constitution, and the distorting effect this has had. Now there is a chance to change it – if we can agree on a way forward. Pearson shows what constitutional recognition means, and what it could make possible: true equality and a renewed appreciation of an ancient culture. This is a wide-ranging, eloquent call for justice, an essay of remarkable power that traverses history and culture to make the case for change.
Correspondence discussing Quarterly Essay 55, A Rightful Place:
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Noel Pearson’s searing Quarterly Essay is a watershed moment for this country, a call for us to deal with unfinished business that tarnishes our nation … a landmark essay
Clarity, goodwill, flexibility and realism ... Noel Pearson offers them in abundance.
A Rightful Place is an admirable addition to the Pearson oeuvre – intellectually braceing and cogently argued.
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