Eden elder Pastor Ossie Cruse speaks to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and NSW Premier Mike Baird during their visit earlier this year.A key member of the Eden community is concerned the push for constitutional change via the Recognise movement is being fast tracked without proper dialogue with Indigenous Australians.
“There are so many things that should happen before this happens and I have concerns we are not dealing with the real issue of terra nullius,” Elder and PastorOssie Cruse said ahead of the Recognise meeting at the Bega civic centre on Thursday afternoon.
“Even though they said terra nullius was dead in 1992 it is still well and truly alive, and we need to put to bed these lies and the hatred.
“We believe that unless we live up to the lies of illegal entry we can’t move forward, we have to deal with the truth before it is truly our Constitution.”
Pastor Cruse emphasised the point the Constitution as it stands shows Indigenous Australians were neither British subjects nor Australian citizens, yet have become subjects of Australia.
“The government wants to find a way out without acknowledging illegal entry,” he said.
“Aboriginal people were never citizens.
“I think it’s simple, it’s not a big issue, we just have to deal with the truth.”
He believes both the sovereignty of colonisers and the colonised must be acknowledged via treaties.
“I’m not happy until it becomes our Constitution, whichat the moment belongs to the house of London,” he said.
“There was no ownership in our culture, it was all about responsibility.
“We never had private property, we had respect.”
Pastor Cruse criticised the timing of Thursday’s 2pm meeting on a weekday.
“I think it’s ridiculous,” he said
“You get negative thoughts like it’s deliberate, but what else could it be?
“We will do the best we can with the tools we have.”
A recent meeting with Malcolm Turnbull during a visit to Eden has also concerned Pastor Cruse.
“I like the attitude of our Prime Minister but he’s oblivious to what is happening in this country because he’s only looking at it from an Anglo perspective,” he said.
Pastor Cruse is a veteran of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, and says things have worsened since then.
“Since the 1967 referendum gave us voting rights it really gave us nothing at all,” he said.
“I want what isbest for the kids.”
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.