Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt has promised a referendum on an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the next three years.
Speaking at the National Press Club today for NAIDOC Week, Minister Wyatt said he plans to develop a “consensus option for constitutional recognition” to put forward in a referendum during the 46th Parliament’s term.
“I have commenced the process of engaging and seeking the counsel of Indigenous leaders on the best way forward,” Minister Wyatt said at the National Press Club.
This comes after Minister Wyatt chose not to specifically endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart during Reconciliation Week 2019, despite all partners at the Reconciliation WA event he attended doing so.
Since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was first put forward in May 2017, there have been rejections and criticisms from former and current Prime Ministers Malcolm Turnbull and Scott Morrison, respectively.
The government has also recently put $7.3 million toward community consultation to find a model that best suits constitutional recognition for Indigenous Australians, breathing life back into the idea they initially rejected.
Of the 44 referendums ever held in Australia, only eight have been successful, making it crucial this future referendum is carefully conducted.
Minister Wyatt told ABC Radio today that he and Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Linda Burney, would be working together to settle on an appropriate arrangement “that our people agree to, that the majority of Australians will accept and the majority of states and territories.”
The National Indigenous Australians Agency, the new executive agency under the Prime Minister’s portfolio, will also be working closely with Minister Wyatt to deliver on this “big architecture piece” of constitutional recognition as NIAA CEO Ray Griggs put it.
By Hannah Cross