National Reconciliation Week begins
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, today marked the start of National Reconciliation Week by talking with Narrabundah College students in Canberra about constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.
Ms Macklin and the students were also joined by some of the members of the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians, Panel Co-Chair Mark Leibler AC, Ken Wyatt MP, Henry Burmester AO QC and Alison Page.
The theme for this year’s Reconciliation week is ‘Let’s Talk Recognition’, providing an excellent opportunity to kick start conversations about what Australians think about constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.
Today’s discussion was part of a series of sessions the Expert Panel is holding around Australia about the importance of recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution.
These discussions will build understanding about the recognition of Indigenous people and help the Expert Panel to develop options for constitutional change that will have the best chance of success at a referendum.
All Australians are encouraged to participate in the discussions.
The Australian Government sees the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as an important step towards building an Australia based on strong relationships and mutual respect.
The Expert Panel will report to the Government by December 2011 on options that will have the best chance of success at a referendum.
Information on the work of the Panel and the schedule for consultations is available on the Panel’s website, www.youmeunity.org.au, which was also officially launched today.
National Reconciliation Week commemorates the anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and Mabo Day and brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to understand our shared history.
National Reconciliation Week is held annually from 27 May to 3 June.