|The journey continues…
The RECOGNISE campaign has come to an end, and as its parents organisation, Reconciliation Australia will be now be taking on the responsibility to continue this important work.
Why is the campaign ending?
The federal government has not committed to funding the Recognise campaign beyond September 2017.
The Referendum Council conducted extensive consultations with First Nations peoples in the lead up to the release of its final report on 30 June 2017. These consultations found that the form of constitutional recognition most strongly favoured by First Nations peoples is a ‘Voice to Parliament’.
The Recognise campaign is currently being scaled down with future advocacy and reform activities being moved into its parent organisation, Reconciliation Australia.
What happens now?
Reconciliation Australia has long advocated for genuine reform that is based on the participation and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. And so, we have realigned our activities to support the aspirations of Indigenous Australians, as detailed in the Referendum Council’s report.
Reconciliation Australia (RA) will continue to build on the momentum generated by the Recognise campaign. We are working with key stakeholders, including Government, to pursue the recommendations of the Referendum Council.
What can I do?
RA will be in touch with all registered Recognise and RA supporters in due course to map out the next stages of our reform agenda. If you have not already done so, please sign up for the RA email newsletter at reconciliation.org.au to receive updates.
You can also read the Referendum Council’s report and recommendations here to learn more about the proposed options for reform currently being considered by the Prime Minister.
Your support is critical to achieving meaningful recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution. We look forward to continuing to share the journey with you.
What’s is constitutional recognition/reform about?
The Constitution is our founding document and it is the set of rules by which Australia is run. It lays out how Parliament works; what powers it has; how Federal and State Governments share power; and the roles of Executive Government (Ministers) and the High Court. The document came into effect in 1901, after the Australian colonies agreed to form the nation of Australia.
Before the Australian Constitution was written, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had lived here for more than 65,000 years, maintaining the oldest living culture on the planet. Yet the Constitution, doesn’t recognise this and still allows for racial discrimination.
As it stands, the nation’s founding document makes no mention of the First Australians and more than sixty-five thousand years of Australia’s history, prior to British colonisation.
RA supports the public campaign to correct this wrong, and meaningfully recognise First Nations’ people in the Australian Constitution.
How do we change the Constitution?
The Australian Constitution can only be changed through a Referendum – a national vote by all Australians.
For a referendum question to succeed there needs to be a double majority. This means more than 50 per cent of all voting age Australians must vote ‘yes’, and a majority must also vote ‘yes’ in at least four of the six states.
What did Recognise do?
The Recognise campaign had a very specific focus. It was to raise awareness across the Australian community of the need to fix the Constitution in advance of a referendum.
The campaign was funded until 30 September 2017. A referendum question to put to the Australian people has not yet been confirmed, nor a date set.
More than 300,000 Australians from all walks of life declared their support for constitutional recognition. RA will continue to build on this support and advocate for change.