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Race Powers Surrounding Australian Constitution

There are two provisions under dispute in the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution.

The first provision is s25 which allows a state government to prevent someone based upon their race from voting for the House of Representatives and s51(XXVI) which allows Federal Parliament to make laws based on race to protect ‘peace and order.’ Australia’s first people the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are further debased due to these provisions.

The first Prime Minister of Australia Edmund Barton spoke in justification of these laws that their design is to “regulate the affairs of the people of coloured or inferior races who are in the Commonwealth.”

These laws go against the principles of the Racial Discrimination Act 1975. However technically the power of the Federal Parliament can override this legislation under the auspices of the “external affairs” power contained in s51(XXIX) of the Constitution.

To change these laws you require a referendum as stipulated under s128 of our Constitution.

This would require a double majority vote of Parliament and separate majorities in a majority of states, normally 4 out of 6 states. This reference to race could also apply to Australians of Anglo Saxon or of the Caucasian race.

This is a rhetorical argument as is the question of race in general. Due to the histrionics of such policies like the all-White Australia migration policy in the past what we are left with embedded in our Constitution is a racial caste system which is clearly outdated.

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