Reconciliation – continuing in Menzies footsteps

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum which for the first time recognised indigenous Australians as fully citizens. Today, in the Assembly, I welcomed some of the initiatives by the Minister for Indigenous Affairs. We need to work together to help to close the gap on indigenous disadvantage in Australia.

The text of my speech was as follows:

"I will just briefly speak in response to the Minister’s statement, and welcome the Minister’s words in recognition of this important year, the 50th anniversary of the national referendum, which removed an area of discrimination from the Australian Constitution and allowed Aboriginal Australians to be counted in the census, recognizing them as fully citizens of this great country of ours. The Referendum, called by the Coalition Holt Government, continued the work begun by the Menzies government, which had already amended the Commonwealth Electoral act to give indigenous Australians the vote in Federal elections in 1962.

It was a momentous time in our nation’s history, one that continues today as our governments work together to close the gap in indigenous disadvantage. We look forward with our members opposite to the day when our indigenous peoples will be truly equal with their non-indigenous counterparts in education, health, and economic outcomes."

14 February, 2017