Today marks an important step in the national conversation about the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s Constitution.
We welcome and thank the Co-Chairs of the Referendum Council, Professor Patrick Dodson and Mr Mark Leibler AC, and the other members of the Referendum Council.
Professor Dodson and Mr Leibler were the Co-Chairs of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, and their leadership will ensure continuity between the Referendum Council and the important work undertaken by the Expert Panel.
The meeting today will discuss a number of important matters, including upcoming national consultations that will provide the opportunity for all Australians to have their say on recognition.
Indigenous-designed and led consultations will be a central element of this national discussion.
It is important that any proposal has the broad support of Indigenous Australians, and the Australian community more generally, before proceeding to a referendum.
The Council will advise us on the progress of the consultations and next steps towards a referendum.
It is expected the Referendum Council will report to us by 30 June 2016.