Statement on constitutional recognition of Australia’s first peoples

  • Young Aboriginal Australian boys smiling

Formally acknowledging and reconciling the wrongs perpetrated against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people—and their long legacy of ongoing trauma—must be a national priority.

It’s crucial the Federal Government works genuinely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and organisations to get the process and the wording right.

Australia’s network of Councils of Social Service welcomes the Minister for Indigenous Affairs Ken Wyatt’s commitment to move forward with Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as part of a broader push towards genuine, meaningful and lasting reconciliation.

Everyone has a role to play in this journey, which begins with respecting the leadership of First Nations people.

Recognition must be more than words.

Words alone cannot soothe our nation.

Our commitments must be written in our actions.

There is a lot of work to be done. Amending the Constitution must not be allowed to replace other acts of recognition or reconciliation.

Makarrata, or the process towards a national Treaty, remains unfinished business.

The Uluru Statement from the Heart remains unfinished business.

We commit to playing our part in this process.

We commit to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and governments of goodwill to make reconciliation and self-determination a reality.

Media contact

12 July 2019