A step towards Indigenous constitutional recognition

Published by MAXSolutions on March 29, 2023
The referendum working group and the Prime Minister

Sean Gordon seen fourth from left


Voice to Parliament.

Since the middle of last year, there has been significant progress on the path to enabling an Indigenous Voice to Parliament and the recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution.
MAX continues its support for both of these reforms.  As our submission on the Voice to Parliament stated:

When we listen to the voices of those that have suffered injustice, it is possible to not only recognise enduring harm. But to see a new strength and resolve to do better. At the centre of change, there is always a voice finally empowered to be heard. 

We are very fortunate to have Mr Sean Gordon as the independent Chair of our MAX Indigenous Advisory Committee, a role he has undertaken for many years.  Sean has led and supported the leaders of our Indigenous Advisory Committee in their role as the Voice within our business, and is also a member of MAX’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group which is Chaired by Darren Hooper, Country Manager at MAX.
Sean is a Wangkumarra/Barkindji man who has long been a strong advocate for the empowerment of Indigenous Australians and has been working for many years to progress the Uluru Statement from the Heart and in particular the Voice to Parliament and the Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians withing the Constitution.  In recognition of the substantial contribution he has made in this space, Sean was recently appointed to the Prime Minister’s and the Minister for Indigenous Australian’s Referendum Working Group.  


What Australia will be asked.

Last week, the Working Group made its recommendations to the Prime Minister and the Cabinet which resulted in the Government announcing the form of the question that Parliament will now consider to be put to the Australian people later this year: 


“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

The legislation to trigger the Referendum will be debated in the next sitting period but the Government has proposed that the question would result in the following new Chapter in the Constitution.
"Chapter IX Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
129 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice
In recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia:
1.    There shall be a body, to be called the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice; 
2.    The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice may make representations to the Parliament and the Executive Government of the Commonwealth on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
3.    The Parliament shall, subject to this Constitution, have power to make laws with respect to matters relating to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, including its composition, functions, powers and procedures.”

This is a very significant step forward and we are very proud of Sean’s continuing leadership in this space and in his work with us.  We are looking forward to hosting further discussions on the Voice to Parliament and the changes to the Constitution over the coming months.


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