The reference group established to help generate community awareness of how Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians could be recognised in the Constitution met for the first time in Sydney today.
Membership of the reference group includes representatives from the Australian Business Council, the Australian Law Council, the Minerals Council of Australia, ANTAR, Oxfam, the Australian Human Rights Commission, and the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples as well as four members of the Government appointed advisory panel on constitutional recognition.
Reconciliation Australia has been appointed to raise community awareness building on momentum generated through the You Me Unity campaign.
Reconciliation Australia CEO, Leah Armstrong, who co-chaired today’s meeting said the wide cross-section of organisations represented on the reference group was important to reach out to the Australian people.
“As we take these important next steps towards constitutional recognition we welcome the great support we are receiving from groups as diverse as the Business Council, the Minerals Council, Congress, ANTAR and Oxfam.
“We know we have a big challenge ahead of us but we are encouraged by the growing mood for change.
“For example, in Sydney this week the next generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders are meeting to talk about how they can mobilise young Australians to join the campaign for change.
“These 96 young people, representing all states and territories, have a great contribution to make to the ongoing education and community awareness campaign.”
Ms Armstrong said events throughout the year, including National Reconciliation Week with the theme “let’s talk recognition” would also help increase awareness.
“Central to this will be the anniversary of Australia’s most successful referendum. “On 27 May 1967 more than 90 per cent of Australians voted to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the national census.
“It is an important reminder of the inherent sense of fairness of the Australian people,” Ms Armstrong said.