MEDIA, JOBS & RESOURCES for the COMMON GOOD
NEWS  |  Politics

Govt Moves on Indigenous Constitutional Recognition


Thursday, 20th September 2012 at 11:26 am
Staff Reporter
The Gillard Government will ask Parliament to pass an Act of Recognition acknowledging the unique and special place of Indigenous Australians.


Thursday, 20th September 2012
at 11:26 am
Staff Reporter


0 Comments


FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

 Print
Govt Moves on Indigenous Constitutional Recognition
Thursday, 20th September 2012 at 11:26 am

Photo courtesy: youmeunity.org.au

The Gillard Government will ask Parliament to pass an Act of Recognition acknowledging the unique and special place of Indigenous Australians.

The move comes as a precursor to a delayed national referendum to change the constitution to recognise Indigenous people expected in late 2013.

The Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, says the Act of Recognition will be worded to reflect as closely as possible the recommendations of the expert panel which the Government asked to develop options for constitutional change.

“This Labor Government is committed to recognising Indigenous people in Australia’s constitution and wants meaningful reform that reflects the hopes and aspirations of Indigenous people,” Macklin said.

“However, we recognise that there is not yet enough community awareness or support for change to hold a successful referendum at or before the next Federal Election.”

A preliminary report prepared for the Government by Reconciliation Australia found that only 39% of the non-Indigenous community have heard about a proposed referendum.

“The Government agrees with the findings of the expert panel that it is important that a referendum is held at a time when it has the most chance of success,” the Minister said.

“To ensure that we continue to build momentum for constitutional change, the Government expects to introduce the Act of Recognition to Parliament before the end of the year.

“We have held preliminary discussions with the Opposition, Greens and Independents about this and we will continue to work with all parties to develop the Act.”

The Federal Government says it has committed $10 million towards a campaign being led by Reconciliation Australia to continue to build support for constitutional change.

Consistent with the recommendations of the expert panel, the Government believes that constitutional change should include:

• a statement of recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their unique history, culture and connection to this land;

• removal of references to race, reflecting the nation’s fundamental belief in the importance of equality and non-discrimination; and

• acknowledgment that additional effort is needed to help close the gap in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples disadvantage.

The Government says it will also include a sunset date for the Act of Recognition, to allow the campaign to continue to build momentum.

“This will provide an impetus for a future parliament to reassess how the campaign for change is travelling and timing for a successful referendum,” Macklin said.

“The Australian Constitution is the foundation document for our laws and our government, but it is silent on the special place of our first Australians.”

ANTaR,  the national advocacy organisation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people says the announcement provides some welcome clarity around the timing of the referendum and an opportunity for all parties to re-affirm their commitment to Constitutional Recognition of Australia’s First Peoples through passage of an Act of Recognition.

“The Act of Recognition must be seen as the next step on the road to Referendum, with a clear focus on the end goal,” ANTar's National Director, Jacqueline Phillips said. 

“We await further detail about the proposed Act of Recognition, but hope that it reflects all elements of the Expert Panel’s package, including the inclusion of a prohibition on racial discrimination. The fundamental principle of racial equality should be clearly reflected in our nation’s highest law.”
 
ANTaR says it has been working with campaign partners to build support for change. In the next few months, the inaugural Rock for Recognition concert series will be touring three states, to raise awareness about Constitutional Recognition.

Visit www.youmeunity.org.au for more information.


 




Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at news@probonoaustralia.com.au

Get more stories like this

FREE SOCIAL
SECTOR NEWS

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *



YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

New Report Renews Calls to Raise Welfare Payments

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 17th April 2018 at 4:43 pm

Political Parties Argue Plans to Extend Cashless Debit Card

Lina Caneva

Wednesday, 6th December 2017 at 5:09 pm

Royal Commission Demands Action in Wake of Shocking and Systemic Failures

Wendy Williams

Friday, 17th November 2017 at 3:58 pm

POPULAR

Fears NDIA Will Force People into Shared Accommodation Settings

Luke Michael

Monday, 14th May 2018 at 3:48 pm

The Welfare Sector is the Biggest Loser

Leon Gettler

Wednesday, 9th May 2018 at 10:35 am

NDIS Eligibility for People With Autism Under Review

Luke Michael

Monday, 21st May 2018 at 2:35 pm

Housing and Homelessness ‘Forgotten and Abandoned’ in Budget

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 9th May 2018 at 11:55 am

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

The social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!