Talks target recognition of indigenous peoples

THE University of the Third Age Redlands (U3A Redlands) Life in Australia series will present a series of talks to help Redland residents better understand the national discussion about recognising indigenous Australians in the federal constitution, which does not expressly mention Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

In December 2010, the government appointed a panel to consult with the Australian people, to lead nationwide discussion on the issue, to consider how best to progress constitutional recognition of Australia's indigenous peoples, and to provide possible options on the nature of the change, which could be put to the Australian people at a referendum.

In January this year, the panel presented the government with a report of its recommendations for formally recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the constitution.

After receiving the report, the government gave $10 million in funding for Reconciliation Australia to continue building public awareness and community support for constitutional recognition of indigenous Australians.

U3A Redlands Life in Australia series will host two presentations on the issue.

On Monday, May 28, University of Queensland constitutional law professor James Allan will speak about features of the Australian constitution and how to amend it.

On Monday, June 4 Federal Member for Bowman Andrew Laming and Queensland's first indigenous doctor, Noel Hayman, will discuss the case for mention of indigenous peoples in the constitution.

Mr Laming is also the shadow parliamentary secretary for regional and indigenous health, while Dr Hayman was the first indigenous student to graduate from year 12 at Cleveland State High School.

Former state member for Capalaba Michael Choi will also speak on the subject.

In a further presentation about constitutional change, Nicola McGarrity, lecturer with the Australian Research Council Faculty of Law, Sydney University, will discuss why the setting up of local government should be outlined in the constitution.

The Life in Australia series is held from 9.30am to 11am, every Monday at the Donald Simpson Centre, Bloomfield Street, Cleveland. Entry is $4, which includes the presentation and morning tea.

For further information, call John Butters on 3207 0847.

For more information about the government panel and the national discussion visit the You Me Unity website at www.youmeunity.org.au

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