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Northern Teritory Field Campaign launched

28 Mar, 2017

RECOGNISE has launched its volunteer-driven Field Campaign in the NT, with Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal woman Mae Mae Morrison announced as the NT Field Leader.

"RECOGNISE has launched its volunteer-driven Field Campaign, to co-ordinate and train thousands of volunteers around the country to spread the word about getting recognition in and racism out of the Constitution. Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal woman Mae Mae Morrison has been announced as the NT Field Leader.

Mae Mae is looking forward to the massive job ahead. She will be travelling across the vast regions of the Northern Territory to spread the word about why constitutional reform is important. “When the Constitution was written more than a century ago, 40 white fellas sat around the table to write the nations rule book. They thought Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were a dying race. But we proved them wrong. And I believe acknowledgement of us mob in that document, as the first nations of this country, is long overdue,” she said.

It’s also important that sections of our constitution that allow for racial discrimination are removed. At the moment, Governments have the power to make laws that apply only to a particular race. And it allows people to be banned from voting based on race.

“This has got to change. Growing up in Townsville, I experienced racism big time. I was called all sorts of things in those days. I was racially abused all the time. I learnt to cope with it. My grandmother was my strong influence, my backbone. She said to me don’t worry about that kind of thing, because at the end of the day you bleed red, you bleed the same blood, you have the same organs. Just walk proud and be strong,” she said.

Mae Mae will be attending many community events across the Territory. She’ll also be running information sessions and looking for new volunteers to help raise awareness about constitutional reform.

RECOGNISE Joint Campaign Director Mark Yettica-Paulson said talking about changing the Constitution is important work that will help the nation take the next step in the journey to reconciliation.

“This will be the first referendum in the digital age, which creates challenges and opportunities.

“Even with all the information available online, there’s no substitute for neighbours talking to neighbours and for local leaders bringing communities together and people getting informed.

“That’s why RECOGNISE is launching its national Field Campaign to recruit, train and support thousands of volunteers to have conversations in workplaces, at sporting matches, shopping centres, schools and community events.

Along with Mae Mae in the Northern Territory, Recognise has Field Leaders in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania and the ACT.

“Together they’ll be aiming to have one million one-on-one conversations with everyday Australians.

“The aim of these conversations is to provide as much information as possible about the upcoming referendum to ensure it reflects the will of engaged and informed people.”

Mr Yettica-Paulson said in May this year the nation will celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 referendum where more than 90% of Australians voted “YES” to equality.

“The ’67 campaigners pounded the pavement, bussed, walked, baked and talked their way around Australia to drive home their unifying message for change.

“It’s 2017 and now is the time for our generation to do that again.”

Mr Yettica-Paulson said RECOGNISE has more than 300,000 supporters and we know thousands more are ready to take the next step in the journey to reconciliation."