On 19 March 2018, the Parliament agreed that a Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples be appointed to inquire into and report on matters relating to constitutional change, including the proposal for the establishment of a First Nations Voice.
Throughout this inquiry, the Committee has sought to find common ground and identify a way forward on these issues.
As required by its resolution of appointment, the Committee presented an interim report on 30 July 2018 and this report was presented on 29 November 2018.
In the course of evidence and in speaking with the community, the Committee kept in mind the aspirations of the Statement from the Heart. The Committee acknowledges that for some the conversation is well advanced, while for others it is just beginning.
The Committee acknowledges that it had limited time and resources compared to the Expert Panel and Referendum Council and was therefore not able to undertake consultations to the same extent or in the same level of detail as those bodies. However, by conducting the majority of its work in the public domain, the views of all can be shared and debated with transparency and respect. The Committee was able to draw on the views of a range of stakeholders, as outlined below and in Appendices A and B, and anticipates that community views will continue to develop as these important issues are discussed across Australia.
The final report of the Committee is intended to reflect the evidence received across the wide range of matters included in the Committee’s resolution of appointment. The report sets out the Committee’s conclusions and recommendations in relation to these matters.
Readers are reminded that this report should be read in conjunction with the Committee’s interim report, which considers in detail the evidence received earlier in the inquiry.