Senate Committee inquiry into nationhood, national identity and democracy is a chance to put views on what is important in our past, present and future

The Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs has set up an inquiry into nationhood, national identity, and democracy. The deadline for submissions to the inquiry is 30 September 2019.

The inquiry is an opportunity for those who, like Honest History for the past six years, believe that Australian history needs to be balanced and evidence-based. Honest History, born at the beginning of the Anzac centenary commemoration/celebration, has expressed this as Australia is more than Anzac – and always has been.

Paul Daley wrote about the inquiry in a piece yesterday in Guardian Australia. He concluded:

Our nationalism (built at federation upon white Australia) remains dangerously homogenous, isolationist and insular, and our patriotism myopically focused on mostly white moments of military and pioneering triumph. We have a big, complicated, timeless and difficult national story. And yet, thanks to our political leaders, we allow ourselves and the world only the narrowest glimpses of the whole. We can be so much more. Here’s an opportunity to put the horse of honest history ahead of the cart of politics.

The terms of reference of the inquiry:

On 29 July 2019 the Senate referred the following matters to the Legal and Constitutional Affairs References Committee for inquiry and report by the last sitting day of May 2020:

Nationhood, national identity and democracy, with particular reference to:

a. the changing notions of nationhood, citizenship and modern notions of the nation state in the twenty first century;

b. rights and obligations of citizenship, including naturalisation and revocation, and the responsibility of the state to its citizens in both national and international law;

c. social cohesion and cultural identity in the nation state;

d. the role that globalisation and economic interdependence and economic development plays in forming or disrupting traditional notions of national identity;

e. contemporary notions of cultural identity, multiculturalism and regionalism;

f. the extent to which nation states balance domestic imperatives and sovereignty and international obligations;

g. comparison between Australian public debate and policy and international trends; and

h. any other related matters.

10 August 2019