Response to media comments over Constitutional reform

Reconciliation Australia has urged all Australians to wait until the Expert Panel releases its final report on Constitutional recognition before ruling out any reform options.

Following recent media speculation over proposed changes to the races power, Reconciliation Australia Co-Chair Tom Calma has called for all parties to await the Panel’s final report in January before reaching any conclusions.

“The Expert Panel, which has representation from all major political parties, including the Independents, has spent the past 12 months consulting extensively with the community to canvass a broad range of opinions and ideas,” Dr Calma said.

“Reconciliation Australia has supported these consultations though various community meetings and forums so it’s only fair that judgment of the results is reserved until the final report is released next month.”

Dr Calma said the panel received over 3,000 submissions which show there is a high level of support not only for recognising the first Australians—but for creating a more modern Constitution that moves us forward as a fairer society.

“There have been many deliberations on this matter, and acknowledgement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution is another step in our reconciliation journey, so it’s important that all parties wait until the final report is released before ruling anything in—or out.”

As 2011 draws to a close, Dr Calma also said there had been many significant achievements in the reconciliation space this year.

“We had a great response to our National Reconciliation Week theme “Let’s Talk Recognition” which will remain the same for 2012,” Dr Calma said.

“Our ever expanding Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program, which now has over 280 organisations with a RAP, and 200 in development, demonstrates a wide reaching commitment to reconciliation across Australian workplaces.

“And we have a strong year of activities planned for 2012, including the Indigenous Governance Awards which focus on recognising and showcasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success to the broader community.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges and pays respect to the past, present and future Traditional Custodians and Elders of this nation and the continuation of cultural, spiritual and educational practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

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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