Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert will join MP Ken Wyatt, Fred Chaney and Patrick Dodson tomorrow at the Constitutional Centre of WA to discuss the Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, as part of the Curtin Corner discussion series on public policy.
Senator Siewert says she is excited by the prospect of discussing the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples recommendations with the people of Perth.
“The Panel has made a series of recommendations which embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as a full and equal part of the Australian nation.
“By recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the body of the Constitution, we would be acknowledging their role as custodians of the world’s oldest continuing culture. It is something of which we can all be immensely proud,” Senator Siewert said today.
“Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders is a positive step towards reconciliation and building a nation based on mutual respect.
“I realise the importance of explaining our recommendations to members of the community. I really valued the feedback and comments we received during our deliberations last year.
“Now that the recommendations have been delivered, it is up to the Government to introduce a bill into Parliament with the text of the question. The Expert Panel has already drafted a bill which could be adopted by the Government, so there is no need for delay at this stage.
“As well as removing the racial discrimination clauses, the panel recommended that s.51A be inserted. The decision of the panel to recommend inserting a clause into the body of the constitution that recognises culture and history and that provides for positive discrimination was a deliberate one, arrived at after extensive consultation and advice.
“It is important that constitutional recognition is a substantive part of the body of the Constitution rather than a token preamble.
“I look forward to joining Ken Wyatt, Fred Chaney and Pat Dodson to answer questions and discuss the importance of constitutional reform to our nation,” Senator Siewert concluded.