Meanjin, Vol. 70, No. 4
Melbourne University Publishing, $24.99 pb, 208 pp
The current issue of Meanjin is a forthright one. In her editorial, Sally Heath singles out the contributions of Marcia Langton and Darren Siwes, and with good reason: their work typifies the issue. Siwes has given the journal its cover, and his choice of image – a coin depicting an Indigenous head of state in the year 2041 – makes its point. The cornerstone of the issue is, however, ‘Reading the Constitution out Loud’, a thorough and level-headed essay by Langton on Julia Gillard’s promise to hold a referendum on the recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution. Langton, a member of the government’s inquiry panel, whose matter-of-fact style leads the way for the rest of theissue, asks, ‘how can we sustain the opportunity for a referendum […] in circumstances that are not riven by “dog whistle” issues in the racialist Australian politics that arise with each electoral season?’ The question cannot be ignored, nor easily answered.