Campaign to raise Indigenous voices

Youth RECOGNISE participants Frank Brinken, Caleb Nichols-Mansell, Tasha Matthews, Tarsha Jago, Charlotte Piper and Crystal Coleman. Picture: SCOTT GELSTON

YOUNG Tasmanians are leading the campaign for a national referendum on constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians.

Youth RECOGNISE supporters travelled to Launceston from across the state, to learn how best to raise awareness of the campaign.

RECOGNISE youth campaigner Tasha Matthews, 17, said she wanted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to be acknowledged as the first owners and inhabitants of the land.

“What made me get involved was just the yearning to be spiritually and physically connected with my culture and people being involved with that also,” Ms Matthews said.

She said the campaign was about empowering Indigenous young people to have their voices heard by those in power.

A parliamentary inquiry recently found in favour of constitutional recognition in Tasmania, with further action set to be taken in 2016.

The Tasmanian Aboriginal Council was vocal against constitutional recognition, saying Tasmania, and Australia “could do better”.

TAC chief executive Heather Sculthorpe said constitutional recognition in other states had failed to affect meaningful change for Indigenous people.

“Nothing whatsoever has changed for Aborigines as a result – no reduction in imprisonment rates, no greater educational achievements, no increased employment opportunities,” Ms Sculthorpe said.

RECOGNISE youth co-ordinator Nioka Tyson said it was important to hear viewpoints from groups such as the TAC.

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