On 30 June 2017, the Referendum Council delivered its final report to Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister of Australia, and Bill Shorten, the Leader of the Opposition. The Report recommended:

1.     That a referendum be held to provide in the Australian Constitution for a representative body that gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander First Nations a Voice to the Commonwealth Parliament. One of the specific functions of such a body, to be set out in legislation outside the Constitution, should include the function of monitoring the use of heads of power in section 51(xxvi) and section 122. The body will recognise the status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia.

2.     That an extra-constitutional Declaration of Recognition be enacted by legislation passed by all Australian Parliaments, ideally on the same day, to articulate a symbolic statement of recognition to unify Australians.

Pat Anderson and Mark Liebler, the Co-Chairs of the Referendum Council, said that they believed the recommendations “are modest, reasonable, unifying and capable of attracting the necessary support of the Australian people.”

In addition, the Referendum Council drew attention to two matters included in the Uluru Statement from the Heart that can be addressed outside the Constitution: the establishment of a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement making and facilitating a process of local and regional truth-telling.

Read the full report here.

At the Garma Festival of Traditional Culture in north-east Arnhem Land in August 2017, the Uluru Statement was personally presented to the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader by Indigenous members of the Referendum Council and many of the Uluru Delegates.

On 23 July 2017, the Uluru Statement Work Group Youth Representatives sent a letter to the Prime Minister and the Opposition Leader calling on them to show leadership and progress the reforms called for in the Uluru Statement and the Referendum Council report. They said:

“We youth are disappointed by the response from some politicians. The Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Referendum Council report present a clear and achievable pathway for change.”

Read the letter from the Youth Representatives here, and the media release here.

 

Who is the Uluru Position Working Group?

The Uluru Position Working Group was established at the Uluru Convention to take the reforms forward, to create a people’s movement in support of the reforms, and to negotiate with the government and parliament to progress them.

The Working Group consists of a male and female representative from each of the Regional Dialogues, two Aboriginal youth representatives and one Torres Strait Islander youth representative.

What happens after the Referendum Council reports on 30 June?

After the Referendum Council reports on 30 June to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, there is no guarantee that the government will take any further steps to achieve the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement or the Referendum Council’s report.

The Uluru Position Working Party’s job is to create a people’s movement supporting the reforms to ensure that progress is made.

The Government’s Response

At Garma, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded to the Uluru Statement and the recommendations of the Referendum Council. He said that he deeply respected the work that had been undertaken, and would consider the report very carefully. No further decision by the government has been announced.

Read more here.

Labor’s Response

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten has indicated that the Labor Party supports the reforms called for in the Uluru Statement and the recommendations of the Referendum Council. He has proposed the establishment of a parliamentary committee to finalise the detail of the recommendations.

Read more here.

Linda Burney MP, Australia’s first female Indigenous MP elected to Parliament, has also called for constitutional reform that prioritises a First Nations Voice to Parliament.

Read more here.

Other Responses

The Greens have issued a statement strongly in support of the Uluru Statement:

“The Greens strongly support the Uluru Statement and stand with indigenous Australians’ demands for political leaders to take the next step and promote self-determination for our First Peoples.”

Read more here.

See further endorsements of the Uluru Statement from communities and organisations in The Statement’s Journey.