The South Australian Government has passed legislation through the House of Assembly which will permanently enshrine the formal recognition of the Aboriginal people in the State’s constitution.

The legislation now goes to the State’s Upper House for debate.

“I am extremely proud that in South Australia we are taking these steps to formally recognise Aboriginal people in our State’s constitution,” Premier Jay Weatherill said.

When the province of South Australia was established in 1836, there was no recognition, consultation or authorisation of Aboriginal people, nor was this rectified when the present constitution passed almost 100 years later. The amendment includes a statement of acknowledgement and respect which:

  • Records the Apology to the Stolen Generation given in Parliament on 28 May 1997
  • Acknowledges and respects Aboriginal peoples as the State’s first peoples and nations
  • Recognises Aboriginal peoples as traditional owners and occupants of the land and waters in South Australia
  • Acknowledges that the Aboriginal peoples have endured past injustices and dispossession of their traditional lands and waters.

Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister Ian Hunter said the changes were proposed following state-wide consultation led by the South Australian Advisory Panel, which resulted in amendments demonstrating appropriate respect to our State’s first peoples and allowed for current and future generations to take their rightful place in our community.