“Some people might question why you would want to remove race from the constitution and then replace it with a power to legislate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. I would say we have to get away from this 19th-century idea that Aboriginal people are members of a “race”. Their identity is based on ancestry, ethnicity and belief systems, not race. We need to have laws that relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people just as we do for many groups in society - women, the elderly, the disabled, veterans, people living in remote areas - but these laws should be based on need and the national interest, not race.
Need because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people remain Australia’s most disadvantaged citizens. The national interest because their cultures and languages are unique to this country to be celebrated as part of our common heritage.”