Step One: Assignment Four (Topic – The Constitutional Recognition of Australia’s First Peoples) by Ryan Mahon

MDIA2002 – Step 1, Views Journalism analysis 2 (Assignment 4)


Briefly indicate the general subject area of the items you plan to cover and indicate, as best you can at this stage.

The topic that I am proposing to cover in this assignment is the current public conversation around the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as Australia’s first people in the Australian Constitution.

There have been numerous articles and opinion pieces, which have both supported and critiqued the notion of constitutional recognition. Some articles assert that Constitutional recognition will result in a new range of court cases on native title and other articles have critiqued the consultation community with local stakeholders. I believe that Constitutional recognition would fall within the criteria for this assignment for the following reasons:

  • Items of the following politics related topics:
    • The policies of political parties.
    • Political protest and/or activist campaigns.
    • The performance, character or popularity of politicians and/or political parties (As there have been numerous opinion pieces published by Australian newspapers and publications both praising and critiquing the government’s plan to address the issue of constitutional recognition).


If you anticipate you will be focusing on just a few items – i.e. four or fewer, provide links if possible to this material and very briefly describe their content.

The articles that I anticipate to cover include:

  • Article one: “It’s time for governments and Indigenous people to talk” by Jackie Huggins.
    • Acknowledges that there is still a long way to-go when thinking about Indigenous rights.
    • The primary claim is that it is the responsibility of the government to represent the views of people that elected them.
      • The government needs to open up a dialogue with Indigenous Australians and move beyond rhetoric.
    • Article two: “Australia needs a treaty and constitutional recognition for Indigenous People” by George Williams.
      • The article argues that in order for Australia to move forward and progress as a nation, we need to recognize Indigenous Australians constitutionally
    • Article three: “Indigenous recognition deserves serious debate, Andrew Bolt shouldn’t be a part of it” by Paul Daley.
      • Against the person argument as Paul Daley is criticizing political commentators who are opposed to recognition.
      • By doing this, the author hopes to undermine the arguments of these commentators by lowering the status of these people in the eyes of the readership.
      • The article calls for an open and thorough debate the includes wider community input and consultation.
    • Article four: “Scant Recognition: Have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have any reason to hope?” by Megan Davis
      • Argument that Indigenous people should accept incremental change instead of what the authors to be unlikely, constitutional recognition.
      • Cites previous failed attempts at constitutional recognition.
      • Generalisation that the Australian people would rather skip, “the difficult part” of recognition and move immediately to a peaceful co-existence.
        • The article argues that this would not happen if a debate on Constitutional Recognition ‘drudged’ up cases of mistreatment and racism in the past.


What sorts of conclusions you anticipate you will be reaching with respect to this data?

I have concluded that, the articles provide a wide range of conclusions about how the government should respond to the issue of Indigenous recognition. Most articles employ certain primary claims and have a privileging of information, in order to convey a particular perspective. Some of the articles begin with analogies, however one analogy is for recognition, whilst one is against it, using a slippery slope argument. The articles have been published by a number of media organisations and they have different objectives and aim to influence their imagined audiences in different ways.

One thought on “Step One: Assignment Four (Topic – The Constitutional Recognition of Australia’s First Peoples) by Ryan Mahon”

  1. OK, now it’s time to summarise what they all say, and how they each differ, then go into details. but always remind yourself what your major finding is, and keep coming back to that in order to keep your narrative coherent.
    at the same time, you also aim to attract a general audience through providing easy to read prose and an engaging ‘style’. remembering that these articles will be in the public domain on this website and can be viewed as material for your portfolio.
    i think this will work well, and if you can refer to other pieces which mention the issue or are related to it, all the better.

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