19 January 2012
Greens call for Referendum on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
The Australian Greens are calling for cross-party support for the recommendations for constitutional change to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and urge the Government to take the next steps towards holding a referendum on the issue.
Senator Rachel Siewert, the Australian Greens’ spokesperson on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Issues, joined with fellow members of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to present the Panel’s final, unanimous recommendations to the Prime Minister today.
“The final recommendations are the product of a comprehensive national consultation, meetings with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities, public submissions, advice from respected constitutional lawyers and extensive research,” Senator Siewert said.
“The consultations and submissions show that there is support across the country for meaningful recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, many people see this as the next step after the Apology.”
“The panel recommendations are a carefully considered package of amendments that would bring meaningful recognition.”
“These recommendations, if implemented in full, will remove the so-called race powers and support a reconciled, unified Australia which embraces Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as a full and equal part of the Australian nation.”
“The next step toward Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples is a referendum. “
“The Expert Panel has already drafted a bill which could be adopted by the Government, so there is no need for the Government to significantly delay the introduction of the referendum text to Parliament.”
“My hope is that multi-party support will continue as Australia takes another huge step towards reconciliation,” Senator Siewert said.
MEDIA ENQUIRIES: JO SOMERVILLE