34,500 kilometres later ... Journey to Recognition relay rolls into Orange on Friday

WELCOME BACK: The Journey to Recognition relay will arrive in Orange on Friday.
WELCOME BACK: The Journey to Recognition relay will arrive in Orange on Friday.

AFTER travelling 34,500 kilometres and visiting 25,000 people in a bid to raise support for constitutional recognition for indigenous Australians, the Journey to Recognition relay will reach Orange on Friday.

A community discussion session will be held at TAFE Western’s Winhanganha room at the March Street campus tomorrow to raise awareness of existing discrimination in the Australian constitution.

Recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement manager Charlee-Sue Frail said speakers would include Orange-born Recognise campaign director Tim Gartrell and Orange Aboriginal Medical Service chief executive officer Jamie Newman, and participants would have the opportunity to ask questions.

“The constitution still has race powers. The states can still ban people from voting based on race and the government can make special laws for anyone based on race,” she said.

“The wow factor of our constitution is that it has these two clauses and we’ve got a real opportunity to change that.”

Ms Frail said the issue of recognising the first Australians in the constitution and the wording was for the Referendum Council to work out.

The relay has already enjoyed success elsewhere, with surveys showing awareness of the proposal for constitutional recognition rose from 37 per cent in March last year to 63 per cent in August. 

They also showed if the referendum had been held at the time of the survey, 79 per cent of the general Australian community and 85 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians would have voted yes.

The community discussion in Orange will be held from 2.30pm to 4pm.