The Uluru Statement ‘From the Heart’ and the recommendations of the Referendum Council have to be responded to by both the Parliament and the Government.
The Referendum Council Report is a remarkable piece of work producing a unanimous recommendation which casts aside most of the recommendations of the previous expert panel. It has been carefully designed to remove all possible conservative objections.
A prepared and assured government and parliament could have used this opportunity to good effect; nonetheless the current capricious situation in Canberra meant that the Uluru Statement did not get the immediate endorsement that was hoped for. The political farce around marriage equality will not help and perhaps the likely ugliness of that debate will further alienate conservatives and distract from the recognition that is called for.
Aboriginal views must be given respectful consideration by both the parties and the Parliament, and we must work towards recognition in a form that is just and acceptable to the Aboriginal community.
I appreciate the achievement of Uluru, and acknowledge that agreement making is proceeding with South Australia and Victoria talking treaties; clearly, Western Australia has led the charge in agreement making and treaty.
The Government and the Parliament has to take the next step and demonstrate strong leadership in both its response to the Uluru Statement and the Referendum Council.