Abbott reveals plans to move Government to FNQ
TONY Abbott has vowed to lead a national conversation on indigenous recognition in the Constitution as preparations begin to make the Torres Strait and Cape York the country’s temporary centre of power later this year.
The Prime Minister last night announced his intention to base himself and some ministerial colleagues in Queensland’s Far North for a week in August under his pre- election pledge to govern the country each year from a remote indigenous community.
It will be the first visit to the region by a PM for some time.
The news comes as Mr Abbott and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten today host 40 of the country’s indigenous leaders in Sydney to thrash out the next move in a bipartisan push for constitutional change.
The wording of a question to be put to Australians in a referendum will be discussed as well as which parts of the historic document should change, with the Constitution currently having outdated provisions such as the ability to ban people from voting at state elections based on race.
Mr Abbott and Mr Shorten last night met with leaders at a reception ahead of talks.
“Our task – our mission, if you like – is to correct the great silence in our Constitution,” Mr Abbott told those gathered.
“Not everyone is as passionate as we are, not everyone is as informed as we are and our challenge over coming months is to more broadly and more deeply engage the whole of the Australian community in this task.”
Mr Shorten called the meeting a “road map to recognition” and said he did not want to go down the “smaller-target path of meaningless change” through “cosmetic tinkering” with the preamble.