Constitutional Recognition Key for Australian Aborigines – Survey
Thursday, 28th July 2011 at 2:08 pm
National Congress of Australia's First Peoples surveyed 600 of its members and found 88 per cent think it is very important that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people receive recognition in the constitution.
It’s the first survey on policy priorities from the organisation’s Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander membership.
Health, sovereignty and education were highlighted by the majority of members as the most
important areas of policy.
• More than half of the respondents – 55% – chose health, education and sovereignty as their top priority policy areas
Within those policy areas
• Health – mental health and emotional wellbeing (42%) and access to health care (21%)
• Education – early childhood education (31%) and school and transition to work (31%) were
the areas of most concern
• Sovereignty – recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Constitution
was seen as a top priority (88%), 77% said constitutional protection of Indigenous rights
was also important and 58% highlighted constitutional protection against racial
Accountability for Governments and the Congress itself, partnerships and research were highlighted as being the most important areas of operation to members.
As well, the majority of those surveyed want the constitution to acknowledge indigenous people's "spiritual, social, cultural and economic relationship with traditional lands and waters."
Recognition of ‘original custodians of the land’ received the second highest vote.
Congress Chief Executive Lindon Coombes says the report is the just the start for more Congress surveys and these first results show their members speaking loud and clear.
Coombes says the challenge now is to turn these voices from ideas to actions.
The National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples was incorporated in April 2010 to be a national advocacy body for Indigenous Australians.
The full report can be downloaded at