Constitutional recognition

Constitutional Recognition and the Uluru Statement from the Heart 

The RACGP has supported the campaign for recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution for many years. 

The Referendum Council was established in 2015 to continue engagement regarding the nature of constitutional recognition in Australia. A wide-ranging consultation process took place, which included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-designed and led consultations, made up of 12 First Nations Regional Dialogues and the National Constitutional Convention in May 2017, where the 'Uluru Statement from the Heart' (the Uluru Statement) was adopted. 

The Uluru Statement calls for the establishment of a ‘First Nations Voice’ in the Australian Constitution and a ‘Makarrata Commission’ to supervise a process of ‘agreement-making’ and ‘truth-telling’ between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The ‘First Nations Voice’ is intended as a modest, but significant change which encourages active participation in democratic processes. This is particularly important given the inconsistent record on genuine engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on issues that affect their lives.  

It is widely known that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience a significant health gap when compared with non-Aboriginal Australians, primarily due to poverty, unemployment, social exclusion, poor housing and poor educational outcomes. There is also evidence that access to good health care is compromised. According to the Lowitja Institute, constitutional recognition will provide a sound foundation for addressing the social and economic determinants of health and wellbeing.  

The RACGP has endorsed the Uluru Statement from the Heart (see the RACGP's endorsement). Support for this next stage in the process towards constitutional recognition is a logical next step in terms of advocating for health equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Uluru Statement has received widespread support amongst our key stakeholders, including the Close the Gap Coalition and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation.

Further information

Referendum council

 1 Voice Uluru

Legally Invisible – Options for enduring government responsibility for Aboriginal health

Constitutional recognition

 Uluru statement: a quick guide

To show your support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart, please  visit this website

Please contact RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health on 1800 000 251 or if you require further information