Constitutional change in South Australia

Reconciliation Australia has welcomed amendments to the South Australian Constitution passed by the South Australia Parliament last week which officially acknowledge Aboriginal people.

Reconciliation Australia CEO, Leah Armstrong, said South Australia was the fourth State to recognise First Australians in their Constitution and this initiative will add momentum to national moves for a referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia’s national constitution.

“I would like to congratulate the Parliament of South Australia for recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and making the important change to their Constitution,” Ms Armstrong said.

South Australia’s Constitutional amendments include a statement of acknowledgement and respect which:

  • Records the Apology to the Stolen Generation given in Parliament on 28 May 1997;
  • Acknowledges and respects Aboriginal peoples as the State’s first peoples and nations;
  • Recognises Aboriginal peoples as traditional owners and occupants of the land and waters in South Australia;
  • Acknowledges that the Aboriginal peoples have endured past injustices and dispossession of their traditional lands and waters.


Ms Armstrong said the South Australian change is a key moment in the broader reconciliation journey and all Australians need to get on board.

“Greater efforts are needed to engage all Australians and gain more support on a national level to raise awareness of constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” she concluded.

Reconciliation Australia encourages all Australians to get engaged and participate in the journey towards recognition and reconciliation and to support the campaign for constitutional change.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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