Prime minister Tony Abbott will meet with leaders of the indigenous community today to discuss the options of a referendum on Constitutional recognition.
Despite rejecting the group’s initial plans for indigenous conventions to take place ahead of a referendum slated for 2017, Abbott is expected to come to a compromise on the issue.
Noel Pearson, Patrick Dodson, Megan Davis and Kirstie Parker want the federal government to fund special indigenous consultations on how to recognise Aboriginal people in Australia’s founding document.
Abbott denied the request in a letter, saying: “I am in favour of building consensus, but strongly believe that this should be a national consensus in favour of a particular form of recognition rather than an Indigenous one.
“The risk with an Indigenous-only — or even an Indigenous-first — process is that it might produce something akin to a log of claims that is unlikely to achieve general support.”
According to the ABC, the tabled options include a statement that recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the first Australians, to removing potentially racist clauses in the document and including additional protections against race discrimination.
Abbott will travel to the Torres Strait Islands and Cape York region on Sunday to fulfill his promise to spend a week in a remote Indigenous community each year.
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