Expert Panel – on sovereignty denied

From the Executive Summary of the Expert Panel Final report:

“The question of sovereignty

At consultations and in submissions to the Panel, there were numerous calls for a reappraisal of currently accepted perceptions of the historical relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians from the time of European settlement. Chapter 9 discusses one of the significant issues to have emerged during the consultation process: the aspiration of some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for recognition of their sovereign status.

The Panel has concluded that any proposal relating to constitutional recognition of the sovereign status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples would be highly contested by many Australians, and likely to jeopardise broad public support for the Panel’s recommendations. Such a proposal would not therefore satisfy at least two of the Panel’s principles for assessment of proposals, namely ‘contribute to a more unified and reconciled nation’, and ‘be capable of being supported by an overwhelming majority of Australians from across the political and social spectrums’. While questions relating to sovereignty are likely to continue to be the subject of debate in the community, including among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the Panel does not consider that these questions can be resolved or
advanced at this time by inclusion in a constitutional referendum proposal.”