Mark Dreyfus MP

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Four Years Since Uluru Statement

26 May 2021

Today marks four years since First Nations leaders from across the nation delivered the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 

LINDA BURNEY MP
SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS
 
SENATOR PATRICK DODSON
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR RECONCILIATION
SHADOW ASSISTANT MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL RECOGNITION OF INDIGENOUS AUSTRALIANS
 
MARK DREYFUS
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR CONSTITUTIONAL REFORM
 

FOUR YEARS SINCE ULURU STATEMENT

Today marks four years since First Nations leaders from across the nation delivered the Uluru Statement from the Heart. 
 
The statement was the result of dialogues with First Nations communities around Australia, culminating in a summit at Uluru, as part of the broader national conversation on constitutional recognition and reconciliation. 
 
The Government asked First Nations people their vision for constitutional reform through the appointment of the Referendum Council in 2015. 
 
Throughout 2016, 12 regional dialogues were held across the country. 
 
Between 23 and 26 May 2017, the First Nations National Constitutional Convention met and it delivered the Uluru Statement from the Heart, which was later adopted in the Final Report of the Referendum Council. 
 
The desires of First Nations people as outlined in the Uluru Statement were reasonable and generous.
 
A constitutionally-enshrined voice to the parliament and a national process for agreement making and Truth Telling. 
 
It is simply a desire to be heard on the issues and decisions that affect us – a secure voice that cannot be abolished by the government of the day.
 
It also expresses an aspiration for acknowledgement of the truth and history of our nation. 
 
It asks so little, yet would mean so much to so many. 
 
Four years later and the Government continues to place these very reasonable aspirations in the too-hard-basket, kicking the can down the road. 
 
The Government says it will legislate a voice to the government. This is not what First Nations people asked. 
 
And there remains no further details or developments on what the model would like, or a timeline for when it will be revealed. 
 
Since the last term of the parliament, the Government has appropriated funds for a referendum on constitutional recognition. And yet there remains no indication of when the Government will make good on this promise. 
 
In 2019, the Minister for Indigenous Australians, Ken Wyatt, said there would be a referendum in this term of the parliament. Now he says it is unlikely.
 
We’ve seen a lot of talk from this Government but time and again it always fails to match its own rhetoric. 
 
How long should First Nations people have to wait before the Government shows the leadership and respect First Nations people deserve? 
 
WEDNESDAY, 26 MAY 2021