The defeat of the preamble is quite interesting. It was defeated in
greater numbers in Queensland and Western Australia - which are much more
conservative and have a bit more of a redneck element about them,
especially towards Aboriginals and Asians.
Apparently in the areas where there were large migrant populations, the
preamble did quite well, in areas of larger Aboriginal communities it did
not do very well. The vast majority of Aboriginal community leaders
campaigned for a no vote on the preamble (and some of the more well known
of them like Peter Yu, Pat Dodson and a few others campaigned for a no
vote on the republic as well).
During the litte debate that went on with the preamble, the migrant issue
was focused on very little. It mainly focused on the issue of Aboriginal
inclusion and the now defunct use of the world mateship. The section
refering to the wars and fighting for liberty were only included at the
last minute at the suggestion Joceyln Newman (Minister for Social
Security) when her husband who was a war veteran and fairly high up in
the Liberal party died and was given state and pseudo-miltary farewell.
Most people I have spoken to in Canberra (which yes did have slightly
different voting pattern to the rest of Australia - highest yes vote and
highest preamble vote - though in double majority we miss out because we
are a territory and not a state) were against the preamble because of the
Aboriginal content, the overall hypocrisy of what it said inlight of the
liberal party's record, esp on environment, migrants, aboriginals and also
the God aspect upset alot of people even those who were believers,
primarily because it seemed to refer to an anglo saxon concept of God.
The arguement was that since the country is multicultural, there is a
variety of gods and religions and the preamble was not dis allowing all of
these by including in god we trust or whatever it said.
On Mon, 8 Nov 1999, Chris Burford wrote:
> The preamble looks like a fatal error for a state - to try to reconcile
> classes and interests instead of trying to appear to stand above them. No
> wonder it was pulled in all directions. Britain will have to remember this
> when it eventually gets a written constitution, a deficiency which out of
> all the other countries in the world, it currently shares only with Saudi
> Arabia apparently.
> The Times commented that the British monarchy would be wise to find a
> graceful way out of these old colonial relationships, perhaps a decision to
> end them with the present monarch.
> One other question - was the defeat of the referendum in part a reaction of
> people with English as a mother tongue, against the arrival of significant
> numbers of people of Asian descent?
> Chris Burford
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