Indigenous constitutional recognition: reform to guarantee the Indigenous voice in Parliament’s law-making with respect to Indigenous affairs

Tuesday, 16 June 2015
Zoe Ellerman
Harold Ludwick

This paper will argue for, explain and discuss the proposal to amend the Constitution to create an Indigenous body to consult with and advise Parliament on matters affecting Indigenous interests. It will argue that a procedural amendment to the Constitution to guarantee the Indigenous voice in Parliament's law and policy making for Indigenous affairs would establish a pre-emptive and proactive process for Indigenous consultation and engagement with Parliament. This may be an alternative way of constitutionally preventing and addressing racial discrimination against Indigenous peoples through government laws and policies. The paper will discuss some legal and political pros and cons of the procedural approach compared to other legal and justiciable approaches, and will offer the Cape York Indigenous perspective on why having a platform to have a voice and be heard by Parliament is so important in the struggle for Indigenous equality, responsibility and empowerment.