Referendum on Indigenous recognition within three years, announces Ken Wyatt

Referendum on Indigenous recognition within three years, announces Ken Wyatt

A referendum will be held within the next three years to recognise Indigenous Australians in the Constitution, Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt announced today.

Mr Wyatt stressed the importance of ensuring the proposed constitutional amendments are “right” in a speech delivered at the Australian Press Club.

“Constitutional recognition is too important to get wrong, and too important to rush,” he said.

“We need to design the right model to progress to a point at which the majority of Australians, the majority of states and territories and Indigenous Australians support the model so that it is successful.”

Parliamentarians from all parties, as well as independents, will be involved in developing the model, with Labor Indigenous spokesperson Linda Burney to play an “integral” role.

Mr Wyatt also outlined an intention to introduce a direct Indigenous voice to Parliament at local, regional and national levels.

“The voice is multi-layered and includes the voices of individuals, families, communities and Indigenous organisations who want to be heard by those who make the decisions that impact on their lives.”

Specific proposals for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians as the first peoples of the country were developed by an expert panel in 2012, but so far limited progress has been made toward their implementation.

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