Referendum Council's sixth meeting

Indigenous AffairsConstitutional RecognitionReferendum Council
Thursday, October 20, 2016
Publication author(s):
Referendum Council
Publication abstract:

Communique - 20 October 2016

The Referendum Council has settled on timeframes and locations for its next phase of Indigenous consultation on constitutional recognition.

The council will hold 12 First Nations dialogues over November and December and into early 2017, and will culminate in a national convention of Indigenous leaders at Uluru.

The council’s Indigenous steering committee members designed the series of Indigenous-led dialogues with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders during the council’s first phase of consultation earlier this year. Through the dialogues, the council will seek the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives on options for a referendum proposal.

The council has agreed that between November and December 2016, locations for dialogues will include Adelaide, Hobart and Perth. Locations in 2017 will include Darwin, Broome, Dubbo, Brisbane, Torres Strait, Sydney, Melbourne, Cairns and Alice Springs.

The council will meet with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives from across Australia, including representatives from First Nations and community organisations, as well as key individuals.

The council’s digital consultation process, which will complement the dialogues, is due to go live in November. The digital platform will provide information about constitutional recognition and an opportunity for people to put forward their views.

Given the complexity of the issue, council members emphasised the importance of helping people to better understand the options being explored for constitutional change so they are well placed to provide input when the council calls for formal submissions next year.

Members also discussed the latest iteration of the public discussion paper, which sets out the options and issues for constitutional change to help guide community discussion. The paper, which will also be available in a number of Indigenous languages, will be published next month.

The Referendum Council consists of 16 eminent Australians and was appointed by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten in December 2015. Its role is to provide advice on constitutional change, including a proposal to create the foundations for a referendum.

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