16 May 2013
University of the Sunshine Coast student Laina McCoy says her Indigenous studies have taken over her life … but she wouldn’t have it any other way.
The Bachelor of Social Sciences student is part of a collaborative community project called Sunshine Coast Community for change, which is supporting the Nation-wide RECOGNISE project aimed at raising awareness about the need for Indigenous inclusion in the national constitution.
RECOGNISE will hold its first bipartisan information public forum on Wednesday May 29 from 6-8pm at USC’s Innovation Centre auditorium.
It will be the first of three public forums on the Sunshine Coast, which will provide insight into the debate for the inclusion of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Australians into the constitution.
The other forums will be held at the Maleny Neighbourhood Centre on Friday 31 May, 6-8pm and at Mimburri, Belli Park, on June 1 at 11am.
“None of this would have been possible without the collaborative support from Maleny Neighbourhood Centre, the Aboriginal Association (Mimburri) and USC teaching staff,” Laina said.
“RECOGNISE started out as a concept and now we have an opportunity to be part of the discussion and potentially a solution, to help bridge the gap and ensure Indigenous people are included in the Australian constitution.”
The USC forum alone is expected to attract more than 400 attendees and will include guest speakers from a range of backgrounds.
Laina of Montville said while the Federal Government was yet to announce a specific date for a referendum, it was important to have community discussions to increase public awareness and support for the cause.
“This is an issue with a lot of misconceptions and myths, so it’s important we get people talking and aware of what a constitutional change will mean to all Australians,” she said.
“Getting people talking is just the start. So if you are a student and you care about a cause, don’t be intimidated, get involved and talk to people and the community because everyone can make a difference.”
— Jessica Halls