The first official meeting of the Referendum Working Group, which will push advocacy and education to achieve a ‘successful referendum’ on the Indigenous Voice to Parliament, was cancelled on Friday due to the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, aged 96.

Co-chaired by WA Senator Pat Dodson and Indigenous Affairs Minister Linda Burney, the newly established group is comprised of 20 First Nations leaders from across the country.

Other members include Minister Burney’s predecessor Ken Wyatt, Lead Convener of the Coalition of Peaks Pat Turner, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar, and Reconciliation Australia co-chair Tom Calma.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who was supposed to meet with the group in Canberra on Friday to discuss progress on the initiative said the group did meet informally.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese addressing press conference

But, Lawyer, Activist, and Palawa leader Michael Mansell said the symbolism of cancelling a meeting progressing Indigenous rights to mourn the Queen was not lost on him or many other First Nations people.

Mansell told Triple A’s Let’s Talk program, the move shows the Aboriginal struggle today is at crossroads.

Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre’s Michael Mansell yarns with Triple A