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Wed May 24, 2017, 03:42 AM

Australian indigenous leaders meet for historic summit


Australian indigenous leaders meet for historic summit

8 hours ago

From the section Australia

Hundreds of indigenous leaders have gathered in central Australia for a historic summit on formally recognising the country's first inhabitants. The three-day summit at Uluru coincides with the 50th anniversary of a vote that allowed indigenous Australians to be included on a national census. Australia does not mention Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in its constitution. The summit aims to reach consensus on the best method of recognition.

More than 200 delegates from indigenous groups around Australia are attending the First Nations Convention, which will form the basis of a report to be delivered to the nation's political leaders in June. The recommendations may result in a referendum to be voted on by all Australians.

The summit follows 12 indigenous meetings around Australia within the last six months. It is expected to discuss whether recognition should be included in the constitution or covered separately. Alternatives likely to be floated include the possibility of negotiating a treaty, and removing clauses criticised as racist from Australia's founding document. Two so-called "race provisions" allow the states to disqualify people on the basis of race from voting, and allow laws to be made based upon a person's race.

There is broad agreement that recommendations from the summit should be "substantive and practical".

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