The Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples has been accepting submissions as part of its duties to inquire into steps required for a successful referendum on constitutional recognition of Australia’s indigenous population. The Equality Pod, under the guidance of Dr Adam McBeth, has submitted a report that outlines Liberty Victoria’s position on key aspects of the proposed constitutional changes, as suggested by both the Expert Panel Report on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians and the Committee itself in a 2014 Progress Report.
This report explores the issue of constitutional recognition of Australia’s indigenous peoples within the context of international human rights law, emphasising the current inconsistencies in the Constitution and the substantive protections that could be incorporated into constitutional recognition to better adhere to international legal obligations. The report then uses this discussion to argue for particular recommendations concerning the wording and timing of the proposed referendum. These recommendations include:
The report acknowledges that while constitutional recognition in itself will not rectify past discriminatory laws and practices, it will hopefully contribute to the future reconciliation of the peoples of Australia in the spirit of equality, recognition and respect.