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National Museum begins a national conversation

8 JULY 2011

The National Museum of Australia has begun a new discussion program to engage with opinion makers in debates about the nation's future and the history of ideas in Australia.

Platform Conversations will address a range of topics – the first program is entitled "Constitutional recognition – so what?" and will bring together contrasting perspectives on the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.

The debate will address issues such as what form recognition should take in the Constitution, is the recognition debate a distraction from more pressing issues of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander needs and where recognition should be enshrined in the Constitution.

Speakers at the inaugural Platform Conversations, on Friday 8 July, 2011, include Alison Page, Member, Expert Panel on Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, former Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough and Garth Nettheim, Emeritus Professor of Law at the University of New South Wales.

A second Platform Conversation, on Friday 15 July, 2011, will feature a discussion with Australia's best known philosopher, Peter Singer, on the theme "How ethical is Australia ?".

"This series of conversations is about ideas and their role in Australian society. Understanding who we are as a nation is important for the National Museum. We have a role in engaging with issues of contemporary thought and culture, particularly where we can see the relationships of past ideas and current thinking," said Andrew Sayers, Director of the National Museum of Australia.

The Platform Conversations will be available via video on demand and audio on demand on a new Platform TV hub on the National Museum of Australia's website (www.nma.gov.au).

For interviews, images and more information please contact Dennis Grant on 02 6208 5351, 0409 916 481; Caroline Vero on 02 6208 5338; or media@nma.gov.au