RACGP backs constitutional recognition
Following its endorsement of the Uluru statement, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) has again lent its voice to the subject of constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia.
The ‘Uluru statement from the heart’ calls for an independent voice enshrined in the Australian Constitution, and a Makarrata Commission to supervise agreement-making and truth-telling with governments.
The statement is supported by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia, and has been endorsed by the RACGP.
‘The RACGP is committed to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is one of our greatest priorities,’ President Dr Harry Nespolon told newsGP.
‘Constitutional change of this kind must be considered a national priority to be successful.
‘The RACGP supports developing the Uluru model so that it can be put to the broader community for agreement. We encourage our members to support this process.’
The RACGP previously endorsed the Uluru statement as part of its submission to the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 2018 (the Committee), which was formed with the purpose of investigating the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within the Australian constitution.
The Committee is due to present its final report by the end of this month.
‘The RACGP strongly supports the recommendations in the Uluru statement as a way to make real progress to close the gap in health inequality,’ Dr Nespolon said.
‘The Uluru Statement encourages a stronger voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, who are the best placed to make decisions about what is important to them and how to make the changes needed to make a difference.’
According to Dr Anita Watts, an Aboriginal GP, academic and member of the RACGP Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health board, the Uluru statement and constitutional recognition are vital to the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
‘Without recognition, there cannot be self-determination for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,’ Dr Watts told newsGP earlier this year.
‘Health outcomes are inextricably linked to self-determination. There is overwhelming evidence to support improvement in health outcomes when Indigenous peoples take greater control over their health.’
This article first appeared on the RACGP website on 5 Nov 2018, authored by Paul Hayes