An Australian republic ‘could benefit Aborigines’

A leading Australian academic and Aboriginal activist has supported a renewed campaign for Australia to become a republic if it recognises the sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander citizens and gives them more political representation.

Professor Jakelin Troy, the director of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research at the University of Sydney, said she “absolutely” supported the notion of Australia becoming a republic but that any new system of governance should correctly recognise that Aboriginal Australians initially owned the country.

“A republic should include more representation in the parliament and a set of rights equivalent to treaty rights enshrined in law so that Aboriginal people don’t have to continue fighting,” Troy said.

Australia remains a constitutional monarchy and has been subjected to British rule since it was colonised upon the arrival of Britain’s First Fleet in Sydney Cove on January 26, 1788.

The fleet’s arrival date is widely celebrated in the country with an annual public holiday called Australia Day, but many Aboriginal people mourn the occasion as “Invasion Day”.

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