Talks over ref­er­en­dum

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

CON­STI­TU­TIONAL recog­ni­tion of in­dige­nous peo­ple will come a step closer when Tony Ab­bott and Bill Shorten meet in Syd­ney for talks on a ref­er­en­dum.

The prime min­is­ter and La­bor leader will join in­dige­nous lead­ers on Mon­day to dis­cuss a model for a pos­si­ble ref­er­en­dum in 2017 – the 50th an­niver­sary of the land­mark vote on in­dige­nous rights.

Polls show at least twothirds of Aus­tralians sup­port the con­cept, but there is no clear agree­ment on the word­ing. Mr Ab­bott has pre­vi­ously said the meet­ing would help in­form the process for de­cid­ing on a ref­er­en­dum pro­posal that would have the best chance of suc­ceed­ing.

Mr Shorten wants to en­sure the cam­paign for in­dige­nous recog­ni­tion does not lose mo­men­tum and that Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der lead­ers are lis­tened to in a “se­ri­ous and con­sid­ered way”.

Recog­nise cam­paign di­rec­tor Tanya Hosch said the meet­ing would be un­prece­dented.

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