The Queensland leg of a national campaign to boost support for the recognition of indigenous people in the constitution will kick off in Cairns this week.
All Australians will be able to hold their heads high when indigenous people are finally recognised in the constitution, a Queensland historian and activist says.
Jackie Huggins, spokeswoman for campaign group Recognise and former co-chairwoman of Reconciliation Australia, says recognition will strengthen the country’s identity and heal deep wounds.
“It’s also about Australia taking pride,” the former deputy director of University of Queensland’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander studies said.
“The country prides itself on being a place of fairness but we’re still not recognised in the constitution.”
Recognise campaigners have been travelling across the country encouraging people to support the cause.
Dr Huggins will launch the Queensland leg of the campaign in Cairns on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in January that recognising indigenous people in the constitution was a”national crusade” that should be important to everyone.
He has promised to finalise a draft form of words for changing the constitution by the end of the year, which will be followed by national debate.
Dr Huggins joined the movement for recognition more than a decade ago.
She says it is time Australia’s indigenous history, which began more than 40,000 years ago, is acknowledged and she’s optimistic most would vote in favour.
“This is the right time and the right thing to do,” the Bidjara and Birri-Gubba Juru woman said.
She also wants any reference to wording that discriminates against race removed from the document.