Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012
The Central Land Council has welcomed the passing of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012 in the Australian Parliament.
CLC Director David Ross said the bi-partisan support for the Bill gave everybody hope that a referendum could succeed and carry Australia into a more modern era of race relations.
“I have been enormously heartened by the support in the Australian Parliament today and the goodwill exhibited by both parties for this recognition of Aboriginal people,” Mr Ross said.
“I also want to take the opportunity to reflect on the five year anniversary of the National Apology: it was a significant event of symbolic recognition which has had positive, tangible outcomes.
“Likewise, I feel strongly that constitutional recognition of Aboriginal people will have a profound and positive effect on Indigenous people all over Australia,” he said.
Mr Ross said the CLC had made a submission to the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and was pleased with the wording of the Bill.
The Bill recognises the unique and special place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Some of the wording is as follows:
- The Parliament, on behalf of the people of Australia, recognises that the continent and the islands now known as Australia were first occupied by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- The Parliament, on behalf of the people of Australia, acknowledges the continuing relationship of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with their traditional lands and waters.
- The Parliament, on behalf of the people of Australia, acknowledges and respects the continuing cultures, languages and heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Bill sets out a review process which must take place within 12 months to progress the route to a referendum by assessing public support and proposals for constitutional change.
The Act will cease to have effect in two years from now.
Mr Ross said it was important that politicians at all levels worked within their electorates to promote understanding of the significance of a future referendum and garner support.
“The CLC will do everything it can to ensure its constituents in Central Australia understand the significance of recognition in the constitution,” Mr Ross said.
Contact Jane Hodson 0417877579
13 February 2013