The Australian Government has established a panel to conduct a review into public support for Indigenous constitutional recognition.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, announced the review today, in accordance with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Recognition Act 2013, which passed unanimously through the Australian Parliament last year.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are the first inhabitants of this nation, and recognising them in our Constitution presents an historic opportunity to acknowledge their unique culture and history, and their enormous contribution to this nation,” the Minister said.
“This would complete our Constitution.
“The panel comprises former Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon John Anderson AO, Deputy Campaign Director of ‘Recognise’, Ms Tanya Hosch, and Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Mr Richard Eccles.
“The review panel will work with the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to progress the Government’s commitment towards a successful referendum.
“The Joint Select Committee, chaired by the first Indigenous Member of the House of Representatives, Mr Ken Wyatt AM MP, was formed by the Government to work towards a parliamentary and community consensus on referendum proposals and report on steps that can be taken to progress towards a successful referendum.
“The Government will work with all parties across the Parliament to build support towards recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our Constitution.”
The review panel is required to provide a report to the Minister for Indigenous Affairs by 28 September 2014.
The Government will announce a draft amendment to the Constitution for public consultation in late 2014.
Biographies of Mr Anderson, Ms Hosch and Mr Eccles
Media contact: 0408 491 956
MR JOHN ANDERSON AO
Mr Anderson was Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and Leader of the National Party from July 1999 to July 2005. He held the seat of Gwydir in New South Wales (which includes communities with significant Aboriginal populations including Bourke, Brewarrina, Moree and Walgett) from 1989 to 2007. He also held Ministerial positions for Primary Industries and Energy, Transport and Regional Development, and Transport and Regional Services portfolios, and served on the House of Representative Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs from 1989 to 1990 and the House of Representatives Standing Committee for Aboriginal Affairs (later renamed Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Affairs) from 1990 to 1993.
Mr Anderson has a rural background but was educated at Kings School in Sydney and at the University of Sydney where he gained a Master of Arts degree. He was named an Officer of the Order of Australia in 2011 for distinguished service to the Parliament of Australia, particularly through support of rural and regional communities, transport development, and water management initiatives. Since his retirement from politics, Mr Anderson has maintained his interest in agriculture and water initiatives through his private businesses, and was chair of Eastern Star Gas Limited until it was taken over by Santos in 2011.
MS TANYA HOSCH
Tanya is the Deputy Campaign Director for Recognise – the project to raise community awareness and support for constitutional change to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the Australian Constitution. Prior to this, Tanya has been in advocacy and consulting roles with the aim of increasing philanthropic investment into Indigenous development.
Tanya was an integral member of the team responsible for the model design and establishment of the National Congress of Australia’s First Peoples. Most recently Tanya worked with a steering committee to establish the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute. For the past 15 years Tanya has sat on a number of boards and committees. Tanya currently sits on the boards of the Australian Indigenous Governance Institute, Bangarra Dance Theatre, the National Board of the Australian Red Cross, and has recently been appointed as the Independent Chair of the new company Price Waterhouse Coopers Indigenous Consulting. Tanya is the Deputy Chair of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Equality Council, and also provides support to Dr Lowitja O’Donoghue through her role with the Lowitja Institute, Australia’s Institute for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health research.
In 2013Tanya was named in the South Australian Women’s Honour Roll and for the past two consecutive years has been recognised in The inaugural list of ‘100 Women of Influence’ Awards run by Westpac and the Australian Financial Review to recognise women who are achievers in Australian business and society.
MR RICHARD ECCLES
Mr Richard Eccles is Deputy Secretary, Indigenous Affairs, at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. He has over 20 years’ experience in the public sector, having held Deputy Secretary positions at the Department of Regional Australia, Local Government, Arts and Sports, and the Department of Health and Ageing. He has been responsible for a wide range of functions, including negotiating the Australia Health Care Agreements, heading the FIFA World Cup Bid Taskforce, and administering government arts programmes. Mr Eccles was also previously the Executive Director of the Rural Health Education Foundation.
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2014-03-28 Constitutional Recognition.pdf