AAP – There are calls for the Recognise campaign to be shut down after Aboriginal Australia abandoned constitutional recognition in favour of a voice in parliament and a treaty.
A symbolic acknowledgement in the nation’s founding document was rejected at a national indigenous summit at Uluru on Friday.
The Referendum Council will instead push for bold structural reform when it presents a report to both Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten on June 30.
That’s raised serious questions over the future of Recognise, the government-sponsored marketing campaign that has received millions of dollars in funding since 2012 to build community support for the cause.
Reconciliation Australia Co-Chair Tom Calma says taking recognition off the table was a “missed opportunity”, but insists the idea isn’t dead yet.
He noted the Uluru gathering was just one of a number of contributing voices to the whole debate, and says a treaty and constitutional recognition can still coexist.
Mr Turnbull on Saturday warned “controversial” changes to the constitution have little hope of succeeding, while Mr Shorten said there was “a sincere desire for bipartisanship” on the referendum issue.
Federal minister Ken Wyatt has cautioned his indigenous compatriots that the government must balance their aspirations against what the general population can accept, adding only eight out of 44 Australian referendums have succeeded since 1901.