Referendum on constitutional recognition for indigenous people

23 May 2011

Associate Professor Anne Twomey commented on the Prime Minister's referendum on recognising indigenous people in the Constitution in The Australian.

"My suspicion is if it goes too far in terms of substantive rights, you'll get political parties backing off and it won't get sufficient support," she said.

"I think it will get much more support if it's in the symbolic recognition area, but that might not be acceptable to indigenous people. It is very, very tricky."

Speaking following the launch of Sydney Law School's Constitutional Reform Unit, Associate Professor Twomey said one of the unit's first priorities was to examine the legal issues relating to the recognition of indigenous people in the Constitution.

For example, she said, if a new preamble was inserted into the Constitution that recognised indigenous people and the "fundamental values" of all Australians, what was its role intended to be? Would it be symbolic or educative or a source of constitutional interpretation?

View the entire article - PM told not to go too hard on constitutional reform: anything other than a symbolic change could be risky - The Australian

Contact: Greg Sherington

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