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Act of Recognition passes the Senate
Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is another step closer after the Bill for an Act of Recognition passed through the Senate unopposed this week.
This followed unanimous passage through the house of Representatives on 13 February 2013.
The Bill demonstrates the Parliament’s commitment to acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ unique and special place in our nation’s history.
“Firstly, it acknowledges in law that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are the first inhabitants of this nation,” Prime Minister Julia Gillard said in her address to Parliament in February.
“It acknowledges they occupied this land from time immemorial – they honoured and cared for it, and do so to this day.
“Secondly, this Bill seeks to foster momentum for a referendum for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” the Prime Minister said.
The Act includes a sunset date of two years to allow the campaign for change to continue to build momentum and ensure the focus remains on the ultimate goal of a successful referendum.
Tthe Australian Government has committed $10 million towards a campaign being led by Recognise, part of Reconciliation Australia, to continue to build support for constitutional change.
In line with advice from the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, the Government believes a referendum should be held at a time when it has the most chance of success.