Greens secure ALP agreement on Indigenous constitutional recognition

Media Release | Spokesperson Rachel Siewert
Wednesday 1st September 2010, 12:28pm

A referendum on the recognition of Australia’s first nations in the Australian Constitution will happen within the next three years or at the next federal election if the ALP forms Government – thanks to an agreement negotiated by the Australian Greens.

“I’m very excited that we have taken this significant step towards the proper recognition of Indigenous Australians in our constitution,” said Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Aboriginal Issues today.

The Australian Greens reached the historic agreement with the ALP to help deliver stability for a possible ALP government in Canberra this morning.

“While we do not know yet that Julia Gillard will be able to form the next government, we now have a strong agreement that if she does a referendum will be held within the life of this Parliament or as part of the next federal election if she does,” Senator Siewert said.

Senator Siewert indicated that The Greens would be consulting widely with Indigenous organisations and constitutional experts on the nature of the constitutional recognition and doing all they could to ensure a meaningful and successful referendum.

The agreement also includes:


• A Climate Change Committee
• A full parliamentary debate on Afghanistan
• A commitment to work with the Greens on dental health care investment
• Completion of a $20 million High Speed Rail study by July 2011
• Legislating for truth in political advertising
• A Leaders’ Debate Commission
• Establishing a Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner
• Establishing a Parliamentary Budget Office
• Restrictions on political donations
• A move toward full three year governments
• Specially allocated time for debate and voting on private members bills and a fixed and fair allocation of questions for Independent and minor party members in Question Time
• Referenda for constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians and Local Government
• A commitment for reform to provide above the line voting in the Senate
• Better processes for the release of documents in the public interest in both Houses of Parliament
• Access to relevant departments, including Treasury and Finance & Deregulation for Greens election policies.