Constitutional recognition for First Australians

ACEM supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the recommendations of the Referendum Council established to consider constitutional recognition for First Australians.

A constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament and an extra-constitutional Declaration of Recognition in all Australian Parliaments will address the need for First Australians to have a voice in the policies and decisions that govern their lives.

A Voice to Parliament and Declaration of Recognition provide a clear and practical way forward for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

They represent the reasonable aspirations of First Australians following the largest consultation process ever undertaken with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and are supported by a majority of Australians.[1]

ACEM stands with the 90 per cent of Australians who believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should have a voice in the matters that affect them and who believe that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people hold a unique place as First Australians.[2]

ACEM also supports a formal agreement making and truth telling process through a Makarrata[3] Commission. Truth telling is critical to civic understanding of Australia’s history, to raising public awareness of the need for constitutional reform, and to recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sovereignty.

Constitutional reform will be an affirmation of Australia’s recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander self-determination, and an essential step in the nation’s reconciliation journey.

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[1] An OmniPoll conducted in in August 2017 for Griffith University and the University of New South Wales, found that 60.7% of respondents broadly supported a proposal to “change the constitution to set up a representative Indigenous body to advise the parliament on laws and policies affecting Indigenous people”

[2] Reconciliation Australia (2016) Australian Reconciliation Barometer

[3] Makaratta is a rich Yolngu word describing a process of conflict resolution, peacemaking and justice.

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