Statement on Treaty Discussions

Sean Gordon, Chairman

18 May 2017

Uphold & Recognise was established in 2015 to provide a voice for the right and centre-right in discussions about recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution. It seeks to find common ground in this discussion, in the belief that the aspirations of Indigenous advocates can be realised in a way that also addresses the concerns of constitutional conservatives and classical liberals.

Aside from discussions about constitutional recognition, separate discussions about treaties have also arisen, particularly in response to initiatives of the Victorian and South Australian governments.  From time to time, there has been some overlap between the constitutional recognition and treaty discussions.

Uphold & Recognise is committed to its Charter for Upholding the Australian Constitution and Recognising Indigenous Australians.  The Charter is restricted to issues relating to constitutional recognition, and it identifies the approach to constitutional recognition that the organisation promotes.

Uphold & Recognise’s proposal for recognition involves four points:

  1. Repealing section 25 of the Constitution
  2. Replacing the races power with an Indigenous peoples power
  3. Adopting an extra-constitutional Australian Declaration of Recognition
  4. Ensuring that the voices of Indigenous people are heard in parliament’s processes

While we appreciate the importance that many Indigenous and non-Indigenous people attach to the treaty discussions, Uphold & Recognise does not have a formal position on this issue, and it does not seek to foster discussion about it.  Our remit is limited to finding common ground in the separate discussion about constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Constitution.