Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, has announced that the Government has today [25 February 2015] introduced a bill to extend the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act 2013 for three years, until 28 March 2018.
The original Act expires at the end of this month.
The Act recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first inhabitants of Australia, and records the Australian Parliament’s commitment to work toward a referendum on Indigenous constitutional recognition.
Constitutional recognition in our democracy’s founding document would be a watershed moment as it would acknowledge the incredible contribution Indigenous Australians have made to this nation over many centuries and unify the nation.
A referendum will be held as soon as possible, to ensure that Parliament’s formal recognition of the first Australians continues.
The Prime Minister has said he hopes to see a successful referendum held on or before 27 May 2017, the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum which ensured Indigenous Australians were counted as full citizens and gave the Federal Government responsibility for Indigenous Affairs.
The Government is committed to fixing the Australian Constitution, so that it acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians as the first peoples of this great nation. http://minister.indigenous.gov.au