In Episode 35 Bronwyn Kelly reads the final chapter of her book, The People's Constitution: the path to empowerment of Australians in a 21st century democracy. She states that:
Australia can establish a safe and prosperous future for all its peoples but only if it reconstitutes itself as an inclusive, full democracy – one in which the people have their rightful share of power and can establish a much better relationship of trust and productive collaboration with those they elect to represent them in parliament. The current Constitution cannot make that possible simply because it excludes the people from their essential share of power – the power of self-determination – and from the agency that can only be exercised if they and their will are fully and respectfully acknowledged as the source of the sovereignty.
She elaborates on how a coherent statement about the sovereign will of the people can be set out in terms of trust that can be issued to parliaments. This statement can contain our national values, an agreement human rights and obligations, a national people’s voice and an Indigenous Voice. She also outlines how terms of trust in this form can assist Australians to transform their system of merely representative government into a system of truly responsible government.
Bronwyn concludes by showing how a people’s constitution will be an enormous benefit to both everyday Australians and those they elect, particularly if Australians accept the invitation in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
If as a nation we wish to start again, and this time give ourselves the best chance that all our children and all those we love will flourish, there is no better time to accept the gracious invitation from First Nations to walk with them towards a better future. Our willing assent to a people’s constitution which enshrines our political equality by means of enshrining our values, rights, obligations and voices is the key to that better future. We are limited in taking up this invitation to empower all our selves only by the extent of our imagination. We are not limited by any lack of means, practical incapacity, or legal strictures. We are not even limited by political short-sightedness. That will always be present but it need not obscure the truth for us – the truth that our nation is what we make it.
Want to read or listen again to the whole book?
The full book of The People’s Constitution is available in paperback here and on Kindle here. Or click on the picture below. Or visit the Australian Community Futures Planning website to purchase The People’s Constitution at https://www.austcfp.com.au/publications
Or listen to the whole book again at The Australia Together Podcast.
Chapter headings of The People’s Constitution
Chapter 1: The limits of Australia’s representative democracy
Chapter 2: Setting a path to power for the people
Chapter 3: Finding a place to start
Chapter 4: Essentials for a new start as a nation
Chapter 5: Essential No. 1 – Building a statement of Australian national values
Chapter 6: Essential No. 2 – Enshrinement of human rights and obligations in an Australian people’s constitution
Chapter 7: Essential No. 3 – A process for expression on the Australian people’s national voice
Chapter 8: Essential No. 4 – Priority constitutional amendments for an inclusive democracy
Chapter 9: Processes for engagement on and adoption of The Australian People’s Constitution
You are here in Chapter 10: The possibilities of a new democracy under a people’s constitution