Making the pages
I have just renewed my Australian passport. A lovely little document. A magic carpet that allows me to go almost anywhere and come back home — as long as I don’t offend the government, then they might take it from me and banish me from whence I came many years ago.
Inside the passport are 34 pages of beautiful, ghostly photos of Australiana, all outdoors, mostly flora and fauna, cricket matches, beach scenes, bush life, a rambling victorian era pub. No artistic or scientific achievements are represented. But the biggest absence is that of Indigenous Australians. There is not a single picture of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Our passports, it seems, are a thumbnail history of white Australia. There is one only Indigenous reference, an unidentified art work on the inside back cover, almost an afterthought.
If a future referendum recognises Indigenous Australians in the constitution they might even make the pages of their passports.