The Government has committed to pursue recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.
This process requires:
- the building of a general community consensus
- the central involvement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people and
- collaboration with Parliamentarians from across the political spectrum.
The Government has established an expert panel in order to ensure appropriate public discussion and debate about the proposed changes and to provide an opportunity for people to express their views.
The Expert Panel will report to the Government on possible options for constitutional change to give effect to Indigenous constitutional recognition, including advice as to the level of support from Indigenous people and the broader community for each option by December 2011.
In performing this role, the Expert Panel will:
- lead a broad national consultation and community engagement program to seek the views of a wide spectrum of the community, including from those who live in rural and regional areas;
- work closely with organisations, such as the Australian Human Rights Commission, the National Congress of Australia's First Peoples and Reconciliation Australia who have existing expertise and engagement in relation to the issue and
- raise awareness about the importance of Indigenous constitutional recognition including by identifying and supporting ambassadors who will generate broad public awareness and discussion.
In performing this role, the Expert Panel will have regard to:
- key issues raised by the community in relation to Indigenous constitutional recognition
- the form of constitutional change and approach to a referendum likely to obtain widespread support
- the implications of any proposed changes to the Constitution and
- advice from constitutional law experts.