Interim Report on Indigenous Recognition Released
17 July 2014 at 10:41 am
The Federal Government has moved one step closer towards Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with the release of an interim report from a Senate Joint Select Committee.
The interim report of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples recommends constitutional changes including:
Recognising that the continent and its islands now known as Australia were first occupied by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
Acknowledging the continuing relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with their traditional lands and waters;
Respecting the continuing cultures, languages and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; and,
Acknowledging the need to secure the advancement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Australian Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, Rachel Siewert, said the interim report provided a foundation for upcoming public consultation, beginning in northern Western Australia next week.
"I'm looking forward to hearing comments on the report from around the country and welcome the opportunity to speak to people about what they think about Constitutional Recognition, and what they would like the change to look like. Next week the committee will visit Broome, Halls Creek and Fitzroy Crossing in my home state of Western Australia,” she said.
"The interim report discusses important issues relating to constitutional recognition, including wording and proposals to remove discriminatory elements from the constitution, while ensuring the Commonwealth can make laws to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
"I am pleased to see ongoing, multi-party support for this process. A strong political commitment is needed to drive this important change.”
In a joint statement, Attorney-General George Brandis and Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion said the Government believed that appropriate constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples could be a unifying moment for the nation.
“It is our intention to recapture the spirit of the 1967 referendum – the most significant constitutional milestone so far in according proper respect for our nation’s first peoples,” they said.
“The Government remains committed to pursuing recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.
“This commitment has widespread parliamentary support and the Joint Select Committee is to be congratulated for building a strong multi-partisan parliamentary consensus on proposals for change.
“The Government will carefully study the interim report and take the time that is necessary to ensure that any proposal enjoys the maximum prospects of success at a referendum.”
To view the interim report, click here.