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40 social justice and native title report 2013

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40
Social Justice and Native Title Report 2013Considering this achievement, many people consider that progress to reform theConstitution has been too slow. However, there are a couple of key advances thatdemonstrate real progress towards a referendum.(ix)Beyond the Expert PanelThe passing of theAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act2013(Cth) by Parliament was an important first step towards the main goal ofconstitutional reform. As then Prime Minister Gillard stated:…no gesture speaks more deeply to the healing of our nation’s fabric than amendingour nation’s founding charter, so I commend this bill to the House as a deed ofreconciliation in its own right, and as a sign of good faith for the referendum tocome.121The then Opposition Leader Tony Abbott supported the Prime Minister’s message:I honour the millions of Indigenous people, living and dead, who have loved thiscountry yet maintained their identity and who now ask only that their existence berecognised and their contributions be acknowledged.122Another important mechanism for progressing constitutional recognition has been theestablishment of the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition ofAboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in November 2012. The Committeeoperates with the mandate to ‘work to build a secure strong multi-partisanParliamentary consensus around the timing, specific content and wording ofreferendum proposals for Indigenous constitutional recognition’.123It produced its firstreport on the Inquiry into the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander PeoplesRecognition Bill in January 2013.124The progress report, delivered by the Committee in June 2013, provided cleardirection on the steps and timeframes required to ensure that momentum towards areferendum is maintained and built upon following the September 2013 election.125Itwas pleasing to note that the report again clearly demonstrated cross-partycommitment to constitutional recognition.121Commonwealth of Australia,Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 13 February 2013,p 1121 (The Hon Julia Gillard MP, Prime Minister).122Commonwealth of Australia,Parliamentary Debates, House of Representatives, 13 February 2013,p 1123 (The Hon Tony Abbott MP, Leader of the Opposition).123Parliament of Australia,Information about the establishment of the Committee.At(viewed 16 October 2013).124Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait IslanderPeoples,Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Bill 2012(January 2013), ch 3. At%2Fr4943%22(viewed 16 October 2013).

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Term
Winter
Professor
N/A
Tags
Indigenous Australians, torres strait islander, Torres Strait, Social Justice Commissioners

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