The issue of recognition of the unique status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our country’s history is of significant interest to DCA and our members and we welcome the opportunity to make this submission.
DCA, on behalf of its members, seeks to promote and facilitate reconciliation between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples, specifically with respect to better labour market engagement and recognition of the talents and untapped potential of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Collectively, DCA members represent more than ten per cent of the Australian workforce. We believe it is important for these organisations to express a view on matters of reconciliation as they play a major role in bringing it to life, especially through active engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in workplaces and in the wider economy.
Contributing their perspective to the Joint Select Committee on Constitutional Recognition Relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Interim Report is one key way in which Australian organisations can contribute pragmatically to reconciliation.
With this in mind, we surveyed our members to enable DCA to represent their views in our submission to the Joint Select Committee. In summary, this survey revealed the vast majority of DCA members who responded:
- Supported DCA advocating on their behalf for recognition of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution (91%); and
- Reported that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were best placed to lead the design of any constitutional recognition (97%).
Responding DCA members also indicated that they would value additional information and resources to enable their organisation to support a ‘Yes’ campaign.
On the basis of these views, DCA makes the following recommendations.
- The Australian government should proceed with a process to achieve constitutional recognition, enshrining in the Constitution a voice to the Parliament.
- The Australian government should ensure that Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples lead the design of that constitutional recognition.
- The Australian government invest in an educational campaign targeting the general population and the business community to raise awareness about the benefits that constitutional recognition would have for all Australians, and how this constitutional recognition would work in practice.
DCA remains committed to continuing to consult with and provide support to our members to meet this end, and doing so with the support and guidance of its Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander External Advisory Panel.