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#Open #Source #Culture #Mass #Awakening Australia will finally recognise Australian Aboriginals in the Constitution.

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02/14/2013 04:51 AM
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#Open #Source #Culture #Mass #Awakening Australia will finally recognise Australian Aboriginals in the Constitution.
The House of Representatives has passed legislation recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the first inhabitants of Australia.

The bill is considered an interim step on the path towards an eventual referendum for constitutional change.

Its passage through the Lower House was greeted with applause from the public gallery and coincides with the five year anniversary on which former prime minister Kevin Rudd apologised to the Stolen Generations.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has described the legislation as a "sign of good faith" that Parliament is committed to righting the wrongs of previous actions.

"No gesture speaks more deeply to the healing of our nation's fabric than amending our nation's founding charter," she told Parliament.

"This bill seeks to foster momentum for a referendum for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

The legislation passed with unanimous support.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott says constitutional recognition for Indigenous people is long overdue.

"We need to atone for the omissions and for the hardness of heart of our forebears, to enable us all to embrace the future as a united people," he told Parliament.

Mr Abbott has paid tribute to those who have worked to achieve reconciliation over a long period of time, including former prime ministers Gough Whitlam, Harold Holt, John Howard and Kevin Rudd.

He has also recognised the efforts of Ms Gillard.

"So often in this place, we are antagonists. Today on this matter, we are partners and collaborators," he said.

[link to www.abc.net.au]