We need to fix the historical exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from Australia’s Constitution.
And we need to remove discrimination – like the section of our Constitution that says people can be banned from voting based on race.
An Expert Panel – which included Indigenous and community leaders, constitutional experts and parliamentarians – consulted extensively across the nation and reported to the Prime Minister in January 2012.
It recommended that Australians should vote in a referendum to:
- Remove Section 25 – which says the States can ban people from voting based on their race;
- Remove section 51(xxvi) – which can be used to pass laws that discriminate against people based on their race;
- Insert a new section 51A – to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to preserve the Australian Government’s ability to pass laws for the benefit of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- Insert a new section 116A, banning racial discrimination by government; and
- Insert a new section 127A, recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages were this country’s first tongues, while confirming that English is Australia’s national language.
The Parliament set up a Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in November 2012.
It has been asked to consult further on the model, and to help to ensure secure and strong cross-party support so that a proposal can be put to the Australian people at a referendum.
You can download the full Expert Panel report here.
See who was on the Expert Panel.