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One year since the Uluru Statement called for Voice, Treaty & Truth

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice


The Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar AO is encouraging all Australians to reflect on the call made by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Central Australia one year ago.

On May 26 last year, First Nations peoples from around the country presented the historic Uluru Statement from the Heart. It called for:

  • constitutional reforms to empower our people and take a rightful place in our own country.
  • the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the constitution.
  • a Makarrata Commission to supervise a process of agreement-making between governments and First Nations and truth-telling about our history.

Constitutional reform is one of Commissioner Oscar’s key priorities.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have consistently called for greater control over our destinies, for the ability to live freely and equally, and for greater recognition of our rights as the First Peoples of this land. We cannot afford to dismiss what our people have been calling for, for generations.

“We must not forget that this issue speaks not only to the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people but to the aspirations of all Australians – about the kind of nation we hope to share together.”

Commissioner Oscar expressed frustration that one year on, there has been little progress.

While she remains profoundly disappointed that the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his government rejected the proposal for an Indigenous voice to the Parliament, Commissioner Oscar said she’s hopeful the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition will find a way forward.

The Committee is examining the recommendations of the Referendum Council report, the Uluru Statement, the Committee on Constitutional Recognition's report of 2015, and the Expert Panel's report in 2012.

Commissioner Oscar says it’s vital Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people take part in this latest process and she is urging people to make a submission before the deadline of June 11.

The Joint Select Committee is expected to deliver its final report by the end of November.

Commissioner Oscar urges the Government to respond to the Committee’s recommendations when the final report is released.

“I hope that one day, our political leaders will have the courage to honour the voices of our peoples as captured in the Uluru Statement and the numerous other processes related to constitutional reform that we have taken part in across the country.

“I believe, the citizens of this country, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, all want a strong, just and equal nation,” Commissioner Oscar said.