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Expert Panel Recommends Constitutional Recognition Of Indigenous Australians

The Expert Panel appointed by the Gillard government has issued a report which recommends recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution, the repeal of race provisions and a constitutional prohibition of racial discrimination.

The Panel, co-chaired by Patrick Dodson and Mark Leibler, was established in December 2010. Its report says: “It is now for the Government and the Parliament to take the Panel’s recommendations forward.

The Panel recommends:

  • That Section 25 be repealed.
  • That Section 51(xxvi) be repealed.
  • That a new ‘Section 51A’ be inserted: “Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.
  • That a new ‘Section 116A’ be inserted: “Prohibition of racial discrimination”.
  • That a new ‘Section 127A’ be inserted: “Recognition of languages”.

The full wording of the three new sections is contained in the Panel’s report below.

The Panel says the referendum to change the Constitution “should only proceed when it is likely to be supported by all major political parties, and a majority of State governments”. The referendum should be preceded by “a properly resourced public education and awareness program”.

The report of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians (PDF):

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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