If we try hard enough, some of us will be able to remember the ‘republican’ referendum which sought to amend the Constitution. The referendum was unsuccessful and uninteresting as well, but did involve copies of the Constitution being sent to every household, and in circumstances that somewhat increased the likelihood that someone might actually read the booklet. Thus it is possible that some people noticed the existence of the following provision, and also that there was no proposal to abolish or amend it:
25. For the purposes of the last section, if by the law of any State all persons of any race are disqualified from voting at elections for the more numerous House of the Parliament of the State, then, in reckoning the number of the people of the State or of the Commonwealth, persons of the race resident in that State shall not be counted.
Standing out in what is otherwise one of the world’s blandest contitutions, this provision was included to do exactly what it sounds like, to open permanent space for the institutionalisation of formal racial discrimination in Australia’s electoral system. In the Australian Constitution, political exclusion is a states’ rights issue.
Every house possessed this not-very-long document, at least for a few days until the garbage was collected. Right in front of our eyes, if not behind them, the nature of this great nation manages to remain down-the-memory-hole. (Work out the geometry on that one.)