The Australian Greens remain committed to a referendum on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples, viewing proposed legislation as a stepping stone to a successful vote.
“We accept this decision but are very disappointed that the timeframe for a referendum on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Islander peoples, as established in our agreement with the Government, cannot be met,” Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said today.
“It is in no one’s interest to see this referendum fail- a fact we have been very considerate of it in acknowledging the need for an extension of time before a vote is held.
“The proposed legislation will allow for parliamentary debate and continued discussion and engagement with the community.
“We will not allow this issue to be pushed off the agenda and will continue working hard to develop the community discussion on Constitutional Recognition. I call on all MPs to do the same,” Senator Siewert said.
“It’s a sad reality that a referendum to recognise our country’s first people will not succeed in the absence of sustained advocacy from the Prime Minister and against the relentless negativity of the Leader of the Opposition,” Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said.
“The Greens have reluctantly agreed to support a bill instead of a referendum at this time, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait leaders have done, because we currently do not have the kind of political leadership from the old parties for a referendum to succeed.
“It must be said that nobody could have worked harder, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait communities and representatives across Australia, to drive constitutional recognition than Senator Rachel Siewert. The Greens will not give up and will keep driving for this important reform until Australia can stand proud in the global community with recognition of our first peoples in the Constitution.”