IF THE ULURU Statement from the Heart was an example of the trans-formative potential of liberal democratic governance through civic engagement beyond the ballot box, the aftermath of Uluru revealed the limitations of Australian retail politics. The Uluru Statement from the Heart was a call for peace and the Referendum Council proposed reforms – a roadmap to peace. Yet Prime Minister Turnbull dismissed it four months later, inventing a fiction that the enhanced participation of First Peoples in Australian liberal democracy amounted to a ‘third chamber’ of the parliament.
For decades, uncourageous Australian prime ministers have cast aside Aboriginal aspirations for a better deal in this nation because of political expediency. The can is always kicked down the road. Journalists, mostly disinterested, shrug their shoulders, justifying it as a ruthless political decision, a cleaning of the deck as the short electoral cycle enters its final phase. Few journalists appreciate the importance of Aboriginal issues to Australia’s nationhood in the way that Michael Gordon did. Uluru was something else.
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