Abbott and Shorten meet with Indigenous leaders

Abbott and Shorten meet with Indigenous leaders

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten are today meeting with around 40 Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander leaders in Sydney, to discuss a referendum for constitutional recognition.

The talks will centre around the wording of a question for a referendum,  to allow the changing of the constitution.

The referendum would aim to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islanders as the first Australians, and could also impose a ban on all all racial discrimination.

But Cape York leader Noel Pearson, who is taking part in the talks, has warned against including a blanket ban on racial discrimination in the referendum.

He has instead suggested forming a committee made of up Indigenous representatives, to review legislation which affects Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander people.

“I’m proposing an alternative, that on some views is a higher alternative, in that it gives our people an active say in the laws that affect us, rather than a High Court adjudicated provision,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Shorten has released a statement overnight, saying he believes the majority of Australians really want this change to occur.

“I believe Australians are big enough, smart enough and generous enough to vote for genuine, real change,” he said.

He says today is a real chance to tackle the final piece of racial discrimination that lurks in the constitution.

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Libby Dreyer
Libby Dreyer 1729 posts

Libby has worked as a Senior Journalist at National Radio News since February 2011. She graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Canberra in December 2010.

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