Josie FarrerMember for Kimberley

Working Hard For The Kimberley Getting Things Done

WA Labor’s historic move towards reconciliation

Wednesday 11 Jun 2014

Fast Facts:

  • WA Labor will today introduce a Bill to recognise WA's Aboriginal people in the State's constitution
  • The Bill recognises Aboriginal Australians as the first people of our country and is an important part of progressing reconciliation efforts
  • WA is the last mainland State to give constitutional recognition to Aboriginal Australians

In an historic step towards reconciliation, WA Labor will today move to give constitutional recognition to the State's Aboriginal people as the First Peoples of our country.

Member for Kimberley Josie Farrer WA will introduce the Constitution (Recognition of Aboriginal People) Bill into Parliament this afternoon. The Bill allows for Parliament to acknowledge the Aboriginal people as the First Peoples of Western Australia and traditional custodians of the land.

It recognises that Aboriginal people are the original custodians of Western Australia and that settlement by the European people was done without consultation with those original inhabitants.

Other States have already enacted legislation or are in the process of doing so, to recognise Aboriginal Australians as the first people of this country.

Through the introduction of this Bill, WA Labor is seeking to further progress reconciliation efforts in Western Australia.

Advice sought from the Solicitor General by the former WA Labor Government in 2004 suggested that there would be no legal consequences in making the amendment.

Comments from WA Labor Leader Mark McGowan:

"Moving forward towards an equal future we must remove all acts of discrimination against one another.

"Passing this Bill will allow Western Australians to make history, recognising Aboriginal people in the State's constitution and continue the pursuit of reconciliation in WA."

Comments from Member for Kimberley Josie Farrer:

"It's time for the nation to recognise Aboriginal people as the first Australians. We are a strong and vibrant people and we share with all Western Australians a beautiful country, unique culture and languages.  

"Until the 1967 Referendum, Aboriginal Australians were excluded even from being counted in the tally of citizens under section 127 of the Australian Constitution.

"Moving forward in an equal future together we must all remove acts of discrimination against one another."

Comments from Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Ben Wyatt: 

"Our Aboriginal story is a key part of the Western Australian story and to celebrate and honour our Aboriginal heritage is also a celebration of who we are as a State.

"From the Kimberley to the Great Southern, Aboriginal people have, for thousands of years, been our first Western Australians.  Constitutional recognition of our long Aboriginal heritage will be a wonderful opportunity for every Western Australian to celebrate the long connection to our land that Western Australians have had.

"I very much look forward to the opportunity to pass this Bill through the State Parliament with the support of every Member of Parliament."