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Issue #1802      November 8, 2017

Failure on Constitutional Recognition

The Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) has condemned the Turnbull Government announcement that it would reject a key recommendation from its own Referendum Council to set up an Indigenous advisory body to the Federal Parliament.

The Referendum Council had found that a referendum should 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.

But Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull responded that a referendum to establish a new Indigenous advisory body was neither “desirable nor capable of winning acceptance” and would be “seen as a third chamber of Parliament”.

The decision has been met by anger among Indigenous people from across the country who had endorsed the landmark Uluru Statement from the Heart five months ago at a historic constitutional summit in Central Australia.

MUA national secretary Paddy Crumlin said the Turnbull government had failed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“The MUA condemns the decision to reject the collective proposal from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This is yet another example of a failure of leadership from a fatally flawed prime minister,” Crumlin said.

MUA Northern Territory Branch secretary Thomas Mayor who attended the Uluru Convention said he was extremely disappointed that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people had been let down yet again.

“It is disgraceful that again an Australian government has smashed the hopes of those from Australia’s First Nations,” Mayor said.

“After this historic policy failure, it is clear that what Australia really needs is a new government, one that listens to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement is clearly a slap in the face to a people who are already suffering from the effects of policy failure, such as the inequality of the Community Development Program (CDP).

“For this government to take the hard work that was put in to Indigenous consensus, and then to spit it back in their face, is unforgivable.”

Next article – Taking Issue – Drugs and price gouging

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