Most Australians want Indigenous recognition in the Constitution

Photo: Glenn Hunt/ Getty Images.

A Newspoll has found an overwhelming support for Indigenous Australia with two in three people voting in favour of constitutional recognition.

The poll showed that 63% backed the change with support the strongest amongst Greens and Labor voters as well as a small body of Coalition voters.

The poll points to a growing need to update the nation’s founding document in the lead up to a crucial meeting on July 6 between Prime Minister Tony Abbott, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Indigenous leaders to discuss Indigenous recognition in the constitution.

According to the ABC, the pair have “pledged to take a bipartisan approach to holding the referendum”, with suggestions made by the PM that the referendum could take place on the 50th anniversary of the successful 1967 vote.

To approve the change, a majority of Australians and majority of states would need to vote in favour.

In an interview yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the July 6 summit would also give rise to talks of “how far we can go which will both properly acknowledge indigenous people in our constitution and in our national life while at the same time unifying our country, because constitutional recognition of indigenous people needs to be a unifying moment for our country – not a divisive one”.

The view supports comments made earlier last week by Abbott who acknowledged Indigenous recognition but said it had to be “a form of recognition that the whole country can embrace”.

“What we need to do is go forward together as a country,” Abbott told reporters.

“What we need to do is find a form of recognition that is a genuine completion of our constitution rather than substantial change to it.”

“It has to be a unifying moment not just for Indigenous people but for every Australian,” he said.

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