Constitutional Recognition a Goal Worth Getting Right

The Business Council of Australia welcomes the Australian Government’s proposal that parliament passes an ‘Act of Recognition, which would move our country toward a referendum for recognition of Indigenous Australians in our Constitution.

“The Business Council strongly supports actions to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous opportunity and we acknowledge the important role that constitutional recognition could play in achieving this,” Business Council of Australia President Tony Shepherd said.

Recognition of Indigenous heritage and culture in the Constitution is an important part of building the kind of relationships that allow us to work together more effectively to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians and the nation as a whole.

Mr Shepherd said the Business Council of Australia understands that, given the difficulties that are inherent in changing the Australian Constitution, promoting community buy-in will be critical to its success.

“The question of Indigenous recognition in the Constitution is not beyond us as a nation, and should be placed above politics and division.
 
“The proposed ‘Act of Recognition’ should be the start of a long-overdue process that will finally recognise the special relationship Australia’s Indigenous people have had with this land for many thousands of years.

“Our 2012 survey of member companies’ Indigenous engagement activities has again highlighted that respectful relationships between companies and Indigenous communities is the only basis for effective employment and other economic development initiatives.

Both symbolic and practical actions to close opportunity gaps between Indigenous and other Australians are deeply interconnected, Mr Shepherd said.

Like the national Apology in 2008, constitutional recognition of Australia’s first peoples should contribute to better outcomes for Indigenous Australians and a more confident Australia. 

“This is a goal which is undoubtedly worth getting right.