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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is giving a speech at Parliament House. This is a breakfast for Reconciliation Australia and we can have a listen to what he has to say. Good morning, everyone, I too would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we meet. Pay my respects to elders both past and present. For me, these words of respect always carry a promise with them. It's a promise to work towards a truly genuinely authentically reconciled Australia, an Australia where the gap is closed, where our first Australians enjoy the same standards
opportunities, the same living standards that many other Australians take for granted as their Australian birth right. I'm delighted to be here with so many distinguished guests. I thank Nigel Scullion, Sean Newman, along with many of my Labor team, including Senator Peris, Warren Snowden and many others. I would like to acknowledge many Liberal Members of Parliament who are here and of course the Greens as well. I think the launch of this report is worth one's time. It is worth one's time. In Parliament you make choices, it is
you have plenty on and a lot of it is just rubbish, really, but it seems important to you when you are doing it. This is in a different category all together. For a long time, I think that Australia's been caught in a sterile and divisive argument out of false choice between symbolic reconciliation and practical refreshing sillation. I think that's largely been laid to rest. I think this report measures our progress uncomfortably so. I think it forces us to demand better of ourselves. There are always people out there in the community who will use the overdue extension of historical justice as an excuse to whip up fear or to dredge up arguments, the one I love is reverse racism - I don't love it, actually. Then, of course, you have got those people who talk about the black arm band view of history. Even now I suspect there are some sharpening their arguments against constitutional recognition and the Racial Discrimination Act. So I think we can take progress in this report. We can take heart from the progress in this accomplished over
report about what's been accomplished over a quarter of a century. Of course, Labor will push for real and substantive constitutional change. But we know that recognition is not the end of the story. We know the real test is not actually what we say, it's what we do when we are in power and have the opportunities to implement what we think is important. It's about 240 years ago, actually, that delegates from 13 American colonies signed their names beneath a collection of self-evident truths in the declaration of independence. All men, that famous document said, are created equal, are endowed by their creator with certain inale yes nabl rights. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Those are beautiful words. Bup, as we know and as history records, those words did nothing for millions of African-Americans who suffered under slave ry and the indig knit of segregation, who lived a separate, less equal life in the so-called land of opportunity. Here, too, in our land of the fair go, we pride ourselves on the fair go, constitutional recognition like the national more
apology before it has to be more than rhetoric or poetry, because beautiful words, as people know, are never enough. Recognition can't stand as some sort of - merely stand as some sort of acknowledgement of that is
historical injustice, although that is a prerequisite. Concern even on the debate about constitutional recognition, that's it's drifting, that we need timely action. But I worry that there is now forming legitimate scepticism. That even if there were some words to change in the constitution, and that is fundamentally important that they do, potentially without action to back it up, there is genuine scepticism amongst many. Our constitutional recognition has to be a declaration of intent, a signal of our commitment to meaningful improvements and progress, not just in the constitution, but a post constitutional recognition settlement with our first Australians. A quality in the constitution must be matched with equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in every part of our national life. I'm talking about childcare centres and schools, TAFE and universities, workplaces, the courts and the legal system, housing, hospitals and healthcare. Historical justice must be twinned with real justice