On Monday this week, without much fanfare, the joint parliamentary committee on the constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples released its first report. Although this is very much an interim report — it raises a great number of questions for further consultation — it reveals how much has changed since 2015, the last time a parliamentary committee considered this issue. It also shows a possible way through the impasse created by the government’s rejection of the main proposals from last year’s Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The parliamentary committee acknowledges the Uluru Statement as a defining moment in the long journey towards meaningful constitutional recognition. Importantly, it stresses that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people must continue not simply to be heard in the process but also to lead it.