Dialogue and engagement set pathway to Constitutional Recognition

Positive outcomes made between the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leaders.

Justin Mohamed, CEO of Reconciliation Australia said the discussions today were positive and respectful, and have set a pathway towards progressing Constitutional Recognition.

“We recognise that much work needs to be done to achieve a Constitution that is meaningful and inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

“True recognition can only be achieved with a deep and broad conversation with all Australians.”

Reconciliation Australia believes it is incumbent upon Australia’s leaders to ensure that there is a continued dialogue to reach an agreement for concrete proposals of reform which can garner widespread support.

Mr Mohamed said, “It is critical that there is an ongoing conversation and plan of action, which is progressed in a non-partisan manner. We support the development of a Referendum Council as a means of facilitating such dialogue. We hope this Council will be the conduit to enable Australians to discuss and progress a range of issues around Constitutional Recognition and we would welcome the opportunity to participate in the work of the Council.

“We look forward to working in collaboration with the government, the parliament, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and all Australians to build the consensus necessary to progress the nation towards a successful referendum and the best outcomes for reconciliation,” said Mr Mohamed.

Constitutional Recognition has been a much sought after milestone on Australia’s reconciliation journey for many years. Australia needs to fix the historical exclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from Australia’s Constitution—the nation’s ‘rule book’ and founding document.

Reconciliation Australia supports a model for Constitutional Recognition that is legitimate, meaningful and capable of achieving the strongest possible support across the nation.

A successful referendum to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution has the potential to unify Australia like never before.

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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