Constitutional recognition for Indigenous people

25 January 2013

Professor Anne Twomey comments on the Act of Recognition Bill and the planned referendum for 2015 that would provide constitutional recognition for Indigenous people.

According to a report by SBS News,a Federal Parliamentary inquiry has begun to look at ways of ensuring Constitutional recognition is achieved for Indigenous people.

The report states that the proposed Act would express broad political support for a referendum on the proposal in 2015, with the specific timing and wording to be worked out later.
The first task of the Parliamentary Committee inquiry is to try to ensure that the Act of Recognition Bill is passed when debate on it resumes next month.

Professor Anne Twomey says that even if the Act of Recognition Bill is passed, the much harder task will be the wording of the proposed referendum question to put to voters.

She says the major parties should be aiming to come up with wording that future generations won't want to change.

"It's one of those things that the devil is always in the detail.

"And we need to have a much more considered approach as to the terminology of the referendum changes.

"From my view, the way that I see it, we need to have something that will last for a long time, that is not just a thing for today but that if it's going to be in the constitution for the next 100 years, will stand up to scrutiny in 50 years time, in 70 years time in 100 years time.

"So that's going to take a fair bit of time to get something of that stature in the constitution."

View the transcript - Inquiry looks at Indigenous referendum proposal - SBS World News

Contact: Greg Sherington

Phone: +61 2 9351 0202

Email: 233916346f1d4726382025293a580326074850232e0f6107523f400d1b