SA to recognise Aboriginal people
South Australia has pre-empted the Federal Government after introducing a Bill before State Parliament that would formally recognise the State’s Aboriginal peoples in the State Constitution.
Premier Jay Weatherill said the Constitution (Recongition of Aboriginal Peoples) Amendment Bill is a historic moment that is a key step towards the reconciliation process.
The amendment sets out that 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 was passed almost 100 years later.
It also will include 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 Paul Caica said the addition of these statements was the preferred option that emerged after state-wide consultation led by the South Australian Advisory Panel.
“After producing a detailed discussion paper exploring the options for recognition, the panel held numerous meetings with interested parties and received a number of written submissions,” said Mr Caica.
“This has resulted in an amendment which shows respect to our state’s first peoples and allows current and future generations to take their rightful place in our community.”