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In late 2017, between the furore of the Commonwealth citizenship saga, Malcolm Turnbull quietly rejected the Uluru Statement from the Heart; a statement borne from days of deliberation between Indigenous leaders from across Australia as part of the Referendum Council. The statement called for constitutional reform enshrining the establishment of a ‘First Nations Voice’, a Makarrata Commission and, importantly, a treaty (Referendum Council 2017). It is with a blistering critique of Turnbull’s choice to reject the statement that Issue 69 of the Quarterly Essay, titled Moment of Truth (McKenna 2018), opens. Mark McKenna traverses modern Australia, drawing upon historians, academics, advisory bodies, and personal narratives to consider the role that both white and Indigenous history have had in forming today’s nation, delving into the erasure of key moments in Australia’s past and confronting our past and current violence towards Indigenous peoples.
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