It’s a fact of Australian political life that most questions put to voters by way of a referendum will be rejected. But in May 1967, voters overwhelmingly responded “yes” when asked the question “DO YOU APPROVE the proposed law for the alteration of the Constitution entitled— ‘An Act to alter the Constitution so as to omit certain words relating to the People of the Aboriginal Race in any State and so that Aboriginals are to be counted in reckoning the Population”
Just over 90% of voters supported the proposal, which became law in August of that year. There’s still some misunderstanding about what the result meant – but in essence, indigenous Australians were from then on to be counted in the census, and the Federal Government had acquired power to legislate for indigenous people. It was a significant step forward, and is commemorated every year with Recognition Day.
In Cairns, the local Tropical North QLD Institute of TAFE has a long tradition of putting on a concert featuring indigenous performers – this year that’s on tomorrow, Tuesday 27th May from 4-11pm. The program features up-and-coming local talent such as Ingrid Piper, Greta & Micki, Folkcentric, Kalen – Ja, Tamarind Rose, Indigenous Young Boyz, Elements and much more. And one of the rising stars of the far north Queensland music scene is on the bill – Danny Bani. He hails from Thursday Island, in the Torres Strait, a man blessed with musical talent who has just released his first album – called db.
LISTEN to my interview with Danny and concert organiser Mark Fuccilli
The Recognition Day Concert is held at ‘R’ Block Theatre, entry via Newton Street, Manunda.