'Time for a referendum roadmap' | Law

'Time for a referendum roadmap'

Paul Kildea writes in Inside Story (9 November 2012).

The proposals for constitutional recognition of Indigenous peoples and of local government – while very different – share a common problem. Two years after the Gillard government committed itself to putting these issues to a referendum, the public remains largely disengaged or even unaware that these reforms are being discussed. While the government has moved recently to regain lost momentum, its plans for public engagement are vague and fall well short of providing a clear roadmap for change.

In September the government announced (This link is no longer available) it was postponing for two years the referendum on the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, originally slated for this parliamentary term. This announcement was not wholly unexpected and was broadly welcomed by Indigenous leaders. Meanwhile, the government remains committed to a referendum on local government recognition before the next election, but a recent decision to appoint a joint select parliamentary committee on the matter has raised speculation that it may be looking to push back the timing of this poll as well.

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