At the 1897 Adelaide Federation Convention, Alfred Deakin implored delegates to see themselves as ‘trustees for posterity, for the unborn millions… whose aspirations we may help to fulfil and whose destinies we may assist to determine’.
Deakin wasn’t thinking about Indigenous people because they were not treated equally in the new constitution — they were expressly excluded from the census and from Commonwealth jurisdiction.
But Deakin’s urging of a liberal democratic nation can guide us today as we contemplate Indigenous matters.
Australia has turned out to be an incredibly successful nation of which we can be proud.
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