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The Referendum Council was appointed by the Prime Minister, the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP, and the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Bill Shorten MP, on 7 December 2015. It comprises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and non-Indigenous members from a range of expert fields and backgrounds. At the time of drafting this report, Council Co-Chairs Pat Anderson AO and Mark Leibler AC are joined by Professor Megan Davis, Andrew Demetriou, Murray Gleeson AC, Tanya Hosch, Kristina Keneally, Jane McAloon, Noel Pearson, Michael Rose AM, Natasha Stott Despoja AM, Amanda Vanstone, Dalassa Yorkston and Galarrwuy Yunupingu AM (represented by Denise Bowden).
The Council’s terms of reference were:
- Lead the process for national consultations and community engagement about constitutional recognition, including a concurrent series of Indigenous designed and led consultations.
- Be informed by the Parliamentary Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples chaired by Mr Ken Wyatt AM MP, with Deputy Chair, Senator Nova Peris OAM. The Committee will have input into the discussion paper on various issues regarding constitutional change to help facilitate an informed community discussion.
- Consider the recommendations of the 2012 Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians.
- Report to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition on:
- outcomes of national consultations and community engagement about constitutional recognition, including Indigenous designed and led consultations;
- options for a referendum proposal, steps for finalising a proposal, and possible timing for a referendum; and
- constitutional issues.